Strength Gym

LIFT Camp for Girls

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GIRLS-ONLY Summer Camp!

This is BIG, y’all!


Just imagine this:

What if you had started making health, fitness and strength a priority at age 12 instead of age 35? Can you imagine how surrounding yourself with others that value these same things as well as communication, teamwork, confidence and support could have had a massive impact on your life?

I’m sure it’s safe to say that no matter how good you had it, this type of early introduction to an environment like the one described would have only made it better, right?

This is exactly why we would like to invite you to help us spread the word about our upcoming Girls-Only LIFT Summer Camp.

Coach Kevyn will be running a 90 minute fitness camp for girls July 22nd-25th at Travis County Strength. This is for any girls age 10-16 who want to learn the basics of proper technique, build quality movement patterns, improve overall strength and fitness and have a blast doing it with a group of cool chicks.

It is also very likely that participants find a massive boost in confidence and self-esteem through strength training work, making new friends and working together as a team throughout the camp.

All fitness levels and backgrounds are welcome.

WHEN: July 22nd-25th, 1030am to Noon each day.
*Girls need to bring a water bottle and a snack!*

COST: $100

REGISTER HERE

WARM-UPS SUCK, SO DON’T DO THEM

I will be the first one to tell you that warming up is for the birds. Ask anyone that goes to the gym on a regular basis if they take warming up seriously, and I guarantee that 99/100 will say that they don’t. In fact, I can probably describe the typical “warm-up” to you right now with surprising accuracy:

  1. Walk in

  2. Set your shit down

  3. Scan the gym for who’s where and what’s open

  4. Swing your arms in a “wannabe-Michael-Phelps” manner

  5. Pull a foot back to your butt and hold for a fast 3 count, then perform the same movement on the opposite side

  6. Swing your arms again, but this time in circles

  7. Walk to the nearest squat rack or bench and GET TO WORK!

How close was I? Hahaha. That’s what I thought. Some of you are probably reading this and saying, “but I foam roll, too.” Great. Is it a conscious effort to prep your muscles for the work ahead? Or are you using that roller as a back support while you check the Insta for any new likes?

Look, I get it. I don’t like warming up either, but it’s a necessary component to a successful workout and  to staying healthy over time. I know we all know this deep down, but it’s one thing to know something, and another to put it into practice.

So here’s what I’ve found to be helpful when I want to just jump straight into a workout and skip the warm-up.  First, I write up a light workout. The key word there is workout. This is really a trick I play on myself. I still include some of the things that I would do to warm-up along with several movements and exercises that I enjoy. In other words, I build my warm-up into my workout.

For example:
Set the clock for 6-10 minutes. In that time, simply move consistently from task to task without taking a break.

  • 20 High Knees

  • 20 Butt Kicks

  • 10 Air Squats

  • 5 Push-ups

  • 10 Ring Rows

  • 20 Jumping Jacks

  • 20 (sec) Elbow Plank

You see, these are all straightforward movements that will do an excellent job warming up your body’s muscle tissue, joints and gradually ramping up the Central Nervous System (CNS) in preparation for something harder. Not to mention the fact that, if you frame it as a workout in your mind, you are much more likely to actually do it and get the ball rolling for a better workout.

Obviously, the exercises, rep scheme, and duration are all variables that you can play with. In fact, sometimes I just push/pull a sled for 5 minutes straight. Doesn’t get more basic than that.

The point is that it doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you do something that accomplishes 3 things:

  1. Your joints, and body as a whole, should move and feel more primed for movement than when you started.

  2. You should have a light sweat going with an elevated heart/breathing rate.

  3. Your lack of motivation to be at the gym should reduce after a decent warmup. With movement often comes motivation. If you’re dragging ass, the best thing you can do is start the clock and just move. By the end, you’ll be glad you did and you’ll have new energy to tackle the rest of your session.  

After you clear the first warm-up hurdle, you can get more specific with the direction of your workout. You can prep for specific movements and gradually load your body so that everything is primed for the real, sexy work. But, as you now know, your workout starts with the warm-up.

NEW YEAR STARTS A NEW LIFT LIFESTYLE

by Jen Shaw

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I love a new year, a new start, a trash dump of the year before, and a beginning that I can recreate for myself and others. One of my biggest fears in life is being stagnant. Being someone that harbors huge goals yet does not take the steps to change in order to meet those goals. Someone that has big dreams and never lives them out. That’s my nightmare. A new year provides internal forgiveness so if you didn’t do what you needed to do in the prior year, you have a fresh start. I encourage anyone reading this to take note of the goals that didn’t happen, trips that never occurred, habits promised but never forged, books never read, relationships never fostered, and forgiveness never granted. Do it. A new year brings new meaning into the picture.

Today is day 14 out of 90 in the 2019 Lift Lifestyle health and wellness program. I start this program in the new year for all the reasons above and more. This lifestyle program takes sleep, nutrition, and confidence to a whole new level. Just two weeks in and people are setting PRs in the gym, sleeping better, and most importantly, they are thinking about what they are eating. They are looking at the plate of food in front of them and deciding what energy that plate will give them.

This program is about looking at food as a way to fuel our lives. Food is energy and its time to start thinking about what the hell that actually means. We need food to survive. It’s that simple. We need calories to make it through the day and glucose to work our brain. What complicates this formula is a lack of awareness, a complacency, and the myth of being too busy.

Lack of Awareness

People can tell me ten facts about their fancy smartphones but cannot tell me the difference between a protein and a fat. Seriously, it’s actually that bad. To most of the people reading this, you have food accessible wherever and whenever you want or need. You don’t have to forage or eat some random berries that you found after hiking for miles in a forest. You can go to Whole Foods, H.E.B, Central Market, etc., and have an array of fresh whatever-you-choose. Yet that doesn’t happen. You don’t know why you aren't sleeping but damn you sure need some bread and cheese. This signals a complete lack of awareness of the energy and nutrients you consume.

Complacency

There is literally nothing worse than using a quote … but I’m going to do it.

 

“If you want something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done.”

Thomas Jefferson

Change is that simple. Doing the same thing day-in and day-out for years and expecting something to change is insane. Not exercising daily, eating a ton of crap, and not sleeping will inevitably take its toll. You have to wake the fuck up and do something. Something must change and you have to intentionally decide to do it yourself.

The Glorification of Busy

My eyes cannot roll further back into my head when someone asks me how to reach a goal. I give a straightforward answer, and there typically reply is, “I am too busy for that.” Being busy isn’t a thing. I acknowledge that it’s a big step to come to me and ask how to reach a personal goal. There were thoughts that set the conversation in action. Maybe even months of wondering if a goal was even possible. Then taking the initiative to have a vulnerable conversation with someone you trust just to brush the answer off by being too busy? NO. I just can't let that happen. There is time, let’s figure it out!

Step 1: Tell someone what you want. Share with a friend or loved one. Say it aloud. Make it real AF.

Step 2: Make a list of your day, minute by minute. Is each minute serving you? Are you actually physically doing something each minute? (No, the answer is no.) Are you even doing anything between 3:45pm - 4:15pm? What can you do in that time to help you reach your goals? Be real, you can make time in your day. Rearrange things and shift priorities to where they should be.

Step 3: Realize everyone is busy and you are not special. While it does take longer for some folks with work, travel, kids, school, and everything it’s NOT impossible for anyone. It just might be on a different timetable or take a few more steps than you are comfortable with.

Goals in this program are all over the map. Most deal with losing weight, gaining muscle, losing fat, sleeping better, fitting into old clothes, or just to feel better. Sleep and food are the answer. How you get there is up to you. Follow the steps: seek help, organize, and recognize your own personal timetable.

If you are in the same spot, pitted against what seem to be insurmountable goals, I encourage you to join this program. Start now, renew your goals, and stop making excuses.

LOG CLEAN MECHANICS: TO HINGE OR SQUAT?

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The Strongman Log seems to be one of the most underutilized pieces of SM equipment out there. I think that there are several reasons for this but mainly, it's un-weildly and intimidating to those that are uninitiated. Often, the athlete that is using the log for the first time will associate it to the barbell or even the KB Swing and end up frustrated when, time after time, the athlete misses reps. The truth is, the log is much more similar to the stone than the bar and should be approached in the same manner.

For those that don't really have much experience with either, let's break it down to some of the fundamental components: the hip hinge and the squat. 

In the video below, you'll learn (and see) the difference between what a log clean looks like when performed with a hip hinge and when it's performed with more of a squat-like action. You'll also hear some other basic cues along the way that will definitely make the learning process much more successful and fun - so pay attention to the details in the set up and demos.   


HOW TO BUILD A HEAVY BAG

It's been a while now, but we shared a video on how to build a sandbag for general purpose use. In that video, we briefly discussed the massive ROI building your own sandbag has when compared to spending big money on more traditional training equipment like barbells and bumper sets, which, of course, are great if you can swing the price tag and have space for it all.

For those of you that can't, or that train in the tight quarters of your garage, or who just want to include more odd object training into your program, we also discussed some of the sandbag exercises that are MUSTS. These lifts and exercises place a huge demand on you and provide a unique training stimulus that is difficult to replicate. 

Now, in an effort to provide y'all with more of the same (hopefully) valuable info, we wanted to show y'all our new heavy bags that we purchased from StrongFit, and how they can further diversify your training possibilities.

These bags are more durable and can handle much heavier weights - offering an alternative to atlas stones and/or kegs, both in shape and training stimulus, but won't destroy your floor when dropped. 

The video below is the "how-to" build your heavy bag. After you've made yours check back here for more vlogs on all the possibilities you have when it comes to training with the heavy bag! 


STRONGMAN = REAL LIFE

There's no disputing the fact that here at TCS, we fucking love strongman! I'm sure that is abundantly clear at this point, right? 

I've previously written about all the reasons we love this training method, but let's just cover all the bases by restating that strongman provides a massive ROI and is an absolute blast! So if we have this training style that's extremely effective and delivers big on the fun factor, why don't people jump all over it?

Intimidation. 

Strongman gets a bad rap as being "extreme" or "unsafe" because until recently, the only exposure the sport/training method got was from the TV show, World's Strongest Man. And, of course, if someone is sitting on their couch watching a 400lb man pull a fucking jet, they automatically discount it as "not for me". 

Nothing could be further from the truth. The real truth is that Strongman can be for everyone.

What you see on WSM is the very pinnacle of the sport and does not accurately represent what Strongman is on a basic level. Strongman, simply, is movement. Push, pull, drag, squat, carry, throw, etc. It's really that simple. And because Strongman is movement, it then places itself squarely on top of the list of "functional training methods".

Strongman is the shit that you do and encounter in your daily life. 

A sack of groceries in each hand is a farmers carry. Picking up a box of old books is nearly identical to picking up an atlas stone and moving it from A to B. Pushing your lawn mower up the steep hill in your back yard might as well be a heavy sled push.

Get it? You already do Strongman, you just didn't know it. 

Here at TCS, our contention is that if your life is going to demand these things from you, why not get really good at this stuff and have some fun along the way? You'll be amazed at the correlations you'll draw between the lifts and tasks programmed for you in class and the shit real life throws at you. To say that you'll become a more effective and efficient human being is an understatement. 

So, besides being informative(I hope), I guess this is all just a big long invitation for you to come experience Strongman at Travis County Strength. We have a passion for this stuff and love sharing it with people. Your next opportunity to join our Strongman Saturday is 3/25/2017 at 10am. You can reserve your spot today on the Class Calendar.

And, if not, I at least hope that you'll see those correlations we spoke of earlier. 

Hope to see you there!

HOW TO BUILD A SANDBAG

If you are someone that trains out of your garage, you probably have a limited area for a ton of more traditional equipment. Not to mention, the cost of buying all of that stuff is enough to deter even the most hardcore worker-outers. But don't stress. The answer is very simple and very inexpensive: build a sandbag.

Sandbags have become more mainstream recently due to the growing popularity of strongman, but there are many of you out there that are still missing the boat. Implementing sandbags into your training program has a multitude of advantages, but two big ones are:

1. They are inexpensive and easy to make. Major ROI.

2. They more accurately represent the types of object manipulation we face day-to-day. Let's just simplify this by saying that sandbags provide a more real-life experience than a barbell. Evenly distributed weight on a convenient barbell doesn't really happen in nature....just a thought.

Now, contrary to the name, you don't want to literally fill a bag full of sand and go crush a workout. Trust me, that's a bad idea. You'll find that to be a major pain in the ass to use and clean up after. Just picture coming out of the ocean and rolling around on the beach - that pretty accurately depicts the outcome. 

Instead, watch the video below. Chapa and I walk you through the process of building a solid general purpose sandbag. The video is a long one at 6 minutes, but I think that if you are serious about your training and creating a well-rounded program, it will totally be worth it to you to watch. Then, after you build your bag, we will be sharing another blog covering the 3 sandbag exercises you NEED to be doing to get strong. These exercises provide major bang for your buck - especially when performed with the sandbag, so you'll want to stay tuned for that one. 

Until then, get that bag built!