Sunday, July 29, 2012

Blog Fog Stew 2

"This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

8 years ago if you asked me where I would be now or what I would be up to I probably would have said "dead". I wasn't far from hitting the pavement at mach speeds and death was lingering around my shoulders a little to close for comfort.  Rock bottom looked like a five star restaurant and a party for 20 compared to the pit I was in. Money was wasted like I was Jay-Z and parties were non-stop. I was a walking time bomb with no passion, no desire, and no motivation to do anything more than get whacked and sleep, as well as eat Junk Food.  

I was a mess.  I had medical issues that I ignored and an addiction to the high heavens that Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas played out perfectly.  I was similar to the character played by Johnny Deep but understanding me was harder.   The bottomless pit I fell into was crazy, a learning experience, and more than anyone should ever really go through.  I landed on an edge one day where I found myself sleeping under a bridge near the local river for a week, fishing for catfish and bass so I could have a decent meal.  Another edge I landed on had me squatting in a house with no heat or cable TV.  I read the bible instead. Probably the turning point of my life even though I am not truly a religious nut.  It educated me, intrigued me, and nothing more.  It acted as my Simpson's Halloween Treehouse of Horror.  

To make an 8 year story shorter after those events happened I landed into good hands, more than I could have ever imagined.  It was a shock and a surprise that people actually cared about me.  I was given food and clothes, a place to stay, and  more importantly a new outlook on life.  I started to grow up. It wasn't until a few months ago that I came to realize those changes in my life were brought to me because I wanted it.  I wanted to change and succeed and stop being "sick and tired of being sick and tired."  Some call it the Law of Attraction.

Needless to say there are many people I need to thank.  Some know I am grateful and some I may have never said it to, but I will, on a personal basis- face to face. 

I think back a lot about where I was before, how I got there, and what it took to turn my life around.  I feel ashamed and embarrassed about the things I did and feel sorrow for the pain my actions caused many people.  But with my new interest in Business Books, Self Help Books, and Books geared towards Success I have come to realize I can't think about those things anymore.  The past is the past.  I am over it.

Moving forward and into the next chapter of my life has me working harder than I ever have before.  I have a baby on the way, a full time job where I take as much overtime as I can, as well as a start up fitness business.  I blog, I train clients, I lift myself, I love my wife, I work over 40 full time hours a week, I tend to my vehicles and house, and I read.  All this while being freaked out about being a father, helping family out in a situation, and trying to promote my business to become a major local success one day.  I don't slack anymore.  I spent a good portion of my early life being a McDonald's IV patient slacker. Now I set goals and try to burst through them at Mach Speeds instead of falling through rock bottom at those speeds.  I've recently subleased a studio for my group training classes through an awesome guy, Ray, from NJ Core MMA in Hackettstown.  I went in with my guard up, the unknown right in front of my face with a desire to make it work.  A passion to let it not fail.

I spend a lot of my time studying Napoleon Hill's work as well as Jack Canfield, Bob Proctor, Stephen Covey, Alwyn Cosgrove, Jim Wendler, Zach Even Esh, Maxwell Maltz, and Dan Kennedy. These men and their teachings have changed my life in more ways then I feel like writing about. Dan Kennedy has opened my eyes to marketing and Mr. Cosgrove has taught me fitness training and more importantly the business side of it all.  Hill and Canfield have voided my mind of negative bullshit and Covey has taught me the ways of being an effective person. Jim Wendler showed me Strength and Conditioning is a passion and Zach Even Esh helps keep it burning as well as teaches me some business aspects. I am where I am with the mindset I have because I enjoy reading their work.

Sometimes people just need to know that other people care about them.  I think about this often lately.  I know it's true because it helped someone I know hopefully start on the right path again, the path out of that bottomless pit.

Matt has a serious talent for writing and has lived an incredible life based on the things he writes about.  I look forward to more in the future.  Subscribe to his blog.

Now let me Fitness this Fitness stuff into this blog before it gets too long.

With the new facility I am training out of I am currently offering all new clients a Free 2 week trial.

If you want to lose fat and build muscle while increasing your strength come check my classes out.  Check out my webpage at for more info.

The past few weeks I have been training a High School Football player out of my home and the progress he has made has turned eyes and started the questions being asked.  More people are showing interest in my program and this is different from the Group Fitness classes I offer.  Check out the video below and let me know what you think.  If you are a Football player, Wrestler, or student athlete and you're not afraid to train like a beast contact me at activatefitnesspt @

Nobody in this world will give you anything.  You need to work for it.  You need to want it.  Go out there and get whatever it is you want and think positive about it.  Nothing but you is holding you back.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Garage Gym Experience

It is 90 plus degrees outside, the air is stale and the sounds and sights of speeding cars fill the senses while sweat drips from the forehead onto the hot pavement below.  The garage door opens and inside is nothing more than an old Squat Rack, a few Barbells, some rusty weight plates- mostly 45 pounders, and a few conditioning tools.  

Inside it seems to be the size of a janitors closet, but the passion and intensity flashes before your eyes.  You see glimpses of the blood, sweat and tears that has come from the past workouts inside.  Chalk residue is seen on the concrete floor between the cracks of the Tractor Supply Horse Mats.  A small box fan tries it hardest to push some of the heat out the door or at least a slight breeze to wipe some sweat from the forehead.  

On a piece of sheet rock on a wall half finished is "1/16/2012 1st Workout" and below that the letters- N.O.V.. A Harbinger belt hangs from a rusty nail next to another nail with numerous sheets of paper pushed through it.  Workouts of the past, weights corresponding to lifts that were planned for the day.  

The Garage Gym seems to be a place where the manliest of men would only dare train, but why?  Why would someone want to lift in stale air approaching 100 in the midst of summer and in the dead of winter lift with a bar so cold it sticks to the hands filled with sweat? No water fountains, no towels, and no fancy equipment. But when you blink again you see some dedicated and determined women, women with kids and careers, women who love the thrill of strength training and conditioning.  Women who are not afraid to lift and condition in the heat of the sun, on the driveway or in the garage.  

Chains and Steel piping from Lowe's make up some homemade Strongman Equipment.  Farmers walk bars made from 1 inch steel pipes that leave your hands as black as coal.  Passersby honk their horns as salutes of recognizing the dedication and desire that is brought to the Garage Gym when it's time to get it on.  Bikers and walkers turn their heads and stare for a few seconds until the sweaty eyes of the lifters meet theirs, only to turn away really quick- and turn back to catch the motivation and inspiration radiating from the efforts left in the driveway as if they try to adsorb some of the passion to help them continue their feats.

Circuits with Bodyweight Exercises and Sandbags lasting 20 minutes with a few breaks here and there can be found on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Sometimes when you look inside the garage with the door half way perched open you might see a high school football player squatting nearly 300 pounds for 20 reps.  Screams and howls of pain and intensity travel the stale air across the corn field into oblivion. Bear tracks can be seen crossing the road and foxes dancing across the corn fields.  Obie Trice flowing on the stereo and Kettle Bells being swung.  

Mediocre being left far away from the garage and determination clouding the eyes of the beholder. A purpose being fulfilled and straight to the point.  No useless gimmicks or fancy fads.  Fitness lies are buried in the mulch and the truth is preached on a normal occurrence.  Heart and Soul put into workouts with game faces locked and loaded as soon as the feet step out of the cars.  Persistence with effort, pain with pleasure, comes power upon completion. 

This is the style of the Garage Gym.  The weak too afraid to try and the sissified too weak to last. A community of the Dedicated, Demanding, and Determined. Lifting at the Garage does something to a person.  Just as Jim Wendler once said "It's hard to get mad at the guy who cuts you off in traffic after you've left your lunch on top of the hill after bear crawling up it.", it's just as hard to think like the normal average person after you've left gallons of sweat on the driveway of Activate Fitness's Garage Gym on a day where the meters read 100 but feel like 115.

I want to give special thanks to the community of my Garage Gym.  The people who make up these stories and experience the awesome design of effort and desire, battling Death day in and day out with their Heads held high and Shoulders firm.  Tough indeed, powerful oh yes, amazing?  More than they'll ever believe.  


Thank you!

"Death is Winning. Do Something"

The title is a quote from Paul Carter who owns the Blog titled "Lift-Run-Bang."  I recently saw a facebook buddy quote the title and mention his wife had signed this on a card to someone. Since I browsed through that post on my newsfeed I have had the quote stuck in the back of my head, waiting for a time to use it for something.  This has some deep meaning to it and with the fact that death wins 100% of the time, we do not have to sit idle and let it. Where is the fight?

Nothing in this world is more predictable or apparent then the fact that "Death is Winning" and it will always win.  Everybody dies.  There is absolutely nothing you can do about the fact that one day your body will shut down and the end of days come for each of us.  Death is undefeated and unbeatable...

But.. we can fight it.  That's the "do something".

I can see in many places the fact and fear of defeat has crippled us and led us to believe a battle is useless.  Do we care enough to fight the only fight our lives should engage in?  We fight cancer with the will to win and throw every single cell in our body to try and destroy it.  Do we do this before we know we have cancer?  We wake up and go about the rat race every week day trying to get ahead to enjoy life but are we actually just losing the battle?

A major portion of the societies across the world are becoming more and more sedentary.  Diseases that should not exist are rising faster each day with the top of the charts not even in sight.  Why are we allowing ourselves to fall victims here?  Why are we not standing up and fighting the battle?  Death is winning, and we are letting it happen.

Just because it is 100% guaranteed that one day you will die does not mean you need to fall to your knees in front of the beast and raise your weak hands in defeat. What happened to your sword and your will?  Why are we not fighting back like we should be?  The power to fight Death and stand up for our lives is inside each and every one of us.  The will to fight seems to be lost.

Don't let Death win.  Do Something.

This blog post is dedicated to all the people who feel exercise is too hard and eating healthy is too expensive.  It's harsh to say this but it's the truth.  If you don't exercise because it's too hard or because you'd just rather not you are accepting the fact that Death has defeated you long before Death actually grabs you and takes you away.  You lost already, without a fight.  I know you're better than that.. 

For more info on Paul Carter and Lift-Run-Bang please visit:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Activate Fitness

Fitness: (n) The state or condition of being fit; suitability or appropriateness.

Fitness is something that is lacking in society.  Everywhere you look you can see people far away from the state of fitness, lurking in the danger zone of serious health issues.  Almost every person on Earth knows quite a few people who are very out of shape.  Our society as a whole is not Fit and this creates problems everywhere we look, from taxes to health insurance premiums.

Fitness is a hard thing to achieve.  It takes extreme dedication, motivation, and a burning desire.  How many people have a burning desire so hot that they engage in diet and exercise while giving it their all?  We see this throughout the economics of diet and exercise. 12 second Six Packs, 12 weeks to a new body, 12 pounds lost in 12 days, and the money spent on these gimmicks increases everyday.

Fitness is not a quick fix.  The lack of fitness in society and maybe even yourself should be considered before wasting money on these programs or materials that promise fast results.  We have no right trying to dance around for 60 minutes to burn as many calories as possible and call it fitness.  We have no right dedicating 90 days to a program we are not fit enough to engage in.  We have no right trying to get fast results and THAT IS WHY WE FAIL... over and over again.

Ask the average middle aged man and woman what their main goal is when it comes to diet and exercise and you'll get the answer of "I want to be more toned." or "I want to lose this stomach.".  Then ask them if they are willing to count their calories if they needed to do so and you'll most likely hear "That's too much work."  So then we ask them if they are willing to dedicate 12-24 weeks of basic stretching and mild conditioning to get to the point where they are ready to engage in Activating their Fitness and you'll most likely hear "But that is boring."

"I just want to lose weight and lose it fast!!" Ok, eat less. Done.

BUT... That won't make you "fit". Fit is being in good condition and good health.  Losing weight alone doesn't create that condition.

Losing weight or Building Muscle is not Fitness.You can be an overweight person who can barely walk up a flight of stairs without resting, start a diet and exercise program, lose 100 pounds, and in the end- still be short of breath from a flight of stairs- IF you just want to lose weight. This is not Fitness. This doesn't cure unhealthy states in your body.

Sure the majority of our society can afford to lose a few pounds but what we need to do first.. is:
Activate Fitness.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Is society too Out of Shape for exercise?

Almost everybody knows of one person who hates to exercise.  We probably all know at least 5 or 6 people who laugh at exercise and say the most they’ll ever do are Curls.  12 ounces, with a beer can.  America’s waistlines are expanding everyday and consumption of food is rising even faster.  What is frightening is that exercise and mobility participation has been left in the dust without a second thought.

Until one day when disease or illness strikes causing the emotional pain of being sedentary and unhealthy to create feelings of embarrassment and sadness.  It is at this moment that most people decide to start an exercise program.  But is it already too late? Or, are they doing it wrong?

Most people who are overweight, unhealthy and sedentary will first look to books at Amazon or articles online to find out what they should do.  Every day they see ads for a diet program or a piece of exercise equipment that promises immediate results with a carved midsection.  Some people read a little smarter and further so they join their local Health Club to use the treadmill, stair climber, and lat pull down machine.

With the fast paced society we live in, new and exciting information is released almost daily.  People starting an exercise routine see this information and are sucked in by the headlines promising something better than what they currently are doing.  Wanting the fastest results possible we jump from 4 week program to 4 week program before we even finish the first week.  All of the information coming out so fast creates chaos in the eyes and mind of the consumer.  Mixed feelings about what is right and what is wrong cloud their thoughts and make the possibility of committing an error much more likely.  Some people get so overwhelmed by the information that they quit right there on the spot and say “it’s too complicated.”  Others keep skipping across the internet going from program to program and end up hurt because they went too far with something they had NO business doing.

In the past 20 years there has been an alarming increase of injuries at the workplace, on the sports fields, and at home.  Knee injuries, back injuries, and headaches are 3 of the most common types of complaints heard in the medical field.  These increases are causing overwhelming situations at many doctor’s offices and hospitals.  This doesn’t even include the vast increases in diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and obesity.  What is even more disturbing is that a majority of these cases are sedentary people who do not exercise.  What will happen when these injured and sedentary people decide to get fit, hire a personal trainer, join a gym, or buy a product they saw on television?

Over 60 percent of Americans are too sedentary to begin exercise programs.  A huge number of gym members have no business spending their money at a fitness center.  We do not have the proper conditioning to engage in a fitness program aimed at losing weight or building muscle nor should we focus on mainstream fad diets and quick fix solutions.

What should we do then?

Here is a simple test.  Go in your home where you have a stair case and walk up and down it for five minutes.  At the end of the five minutes if you are barely standing with your hands on your knees, gasping for air, you have no right doing any type of weight training or cardio machine workout.  You need to develop your base of conditioning and this will take some time.

This example, sadly, is the normal outcome for a big portion of our country. Participating in an exercise program with a body that has a poorly conditioned state is risky and will most likely lead to injury. We need to step away from the gyms and weight training articles and look at the big picture here.  The biggest reason to exercise in this country is no longer about looking sexy and thin.  The outcome we all need to focus on instead, is becoming healthy enough and conditioned well enough to start an exercise program.

Priming the muscles, the heart, and the lungs for more intense exercise is the first step most fitness professionals take with their clients.  When a person hires a trainer they expect to see immediate results which compromises the fitness professional’s ideal program because they know taking the time to get the body ready is not what their client is paying for.  Pass this over or risk losing your client.  Simple fitness tests and researched protocols are set forth by Certification Associations but often get ignored as soon as the professional passes the test.  When someone wants to get in shape, and they start off on their own without the guidance of a professional, this quick fix mentality takes charge.  It does with almost every aspect of our daily lives, so why would it be different in fitness?

It is not hard to see that the Beginner Program for the vast majority of our nation needs to be something much less than what is currently offered.  Promises of quick fixes need to be ignored and the use of equipment can wait.   The average Sedentary American should spend the first few months of exercising doing nothing more than going for simple walks and basic stretching.  Walking is the most useful tool (besides proper nutrition) our body can use to getting healthy and in shape as fast as correctly possible.  Stretching can wait for a few weeks after the walking distances and occurrences increase.  Sedentary individuals may not be ready to stretch because of highly tight muscles and may cause injury from performing a simple stretch.  The first step to becoming healthy and in shape is now developing yourself a walking program.  Start with one day a week for 20 minutes and continue to add a day each week.  Keep going with nothing but a walking program for at least your first 12 weeks and try to understand the basics of proper nutrition.  Do this and you will feel much better and healthier, and it’ll be as safe as possible.