TOP THREE MOST USELESS EXERCISES

Yea, this one might upset some people but keep in mind that this is my personal opinion. This in no way means my opinion is the law on the matter. I have just noticed over the years that there are a few exercises that pretty much suck. And by suck, I mean the risk of injury is high, the return on one's investment (i.e. building muscle and getting you stronger) is low, and the general all around suck/stupid factor is off the charts. There are plenty of exercises to choose from out there, and it's easy to get confused on which ones are the best and which ones are the worst. I myself am old fashion and tend to stick to the basics. Don't fix it if it ain't broken, right? But if you're the type to love tons and tons of variety and also loves the feeling of crawling around on the floor, then you may not want to read any further.

DUMB USELESS EXERCISE #1

BURPEE (AKA FALL DOWN THEN STAND UP)

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This is arguably the most loved/hated/feared exercise on the face of this earth. The name sends chills down people's necks and creates a nauseating feeling in a person's stomach before even doing one of them. And at the same time it has become the NEW "How much can you bench?" of bragging rights ("How many burpees can you get in a min?") It's also the go-to punishment choice for most trainers and coaches due to the fact that they suck really, really bad. The "claimed" benefits of this exercise are: Full-body muscle development, shoulder builder, core blaster, leg toner and the be all end all of all exercises and possibly the second coming. Now in my humble opinion, I will list what a burpee's PROS AND CONS ARE:

PROS: 

1. Teaches you how to get up quickly when you fall face down from drinking too much. Or to get up from being knocked down at a concert and are embarrasd so you play it off by jumping up fast like you meant to.

2. If you can't sleep because you are not tired, do some of these and you should go right to sleep due to extreme fatigue.

3. If you naturally are not strong and bench press doesn't seem to be your thing you can convince your "strong" friends this is the ultimate exercise and only "in shape" people can do them without throwing up. All the while you are tricking them to throw up. (This option is my favorite)

CONS:

1. Really quick way to throw your back out, hurt your knees and possibly destroy your shoulder (due to the fact that not one person in the world performs burpees the same way so there isn't really a "correct" form).

2. There is absolutely no way to look cool doing them. You can't even put this in slow motion with epic music tracked on to help with the stupid factor. 

3. Just don't do them any more. It's like most of the music in the 80's... let's just pretend most of it never happened and just move on.

REPLACEMENT EXERCISES:

1. PUSH UPS - One of the single best exercises for developing the upper body and midline stabilization.

2. PLANKS - nothing gets the core stronger than these bad boys. Tons of variations: perform them on rings, TRX Straps, side planks. 

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3. HILL SPRINTS, ROWING SPRINTS OR SLED SPRINTS - This is for the people that enjoy throwing up. 

CONCLUSION:

The burpee has a "cult-like" following. Understand if you do them that you are only doing them for this nostalgic feeling. There are plenty of other exercises that build more muscle, stamina, and core strength. I personally believe it is one of the most ineffective exercises out there for building actual muscle and burning fat. But people are going to believe what they want.

DUMB USLESS EXERCISE #2

BEAR CRAWLS AND CRAB WALKS (AKA BEING AN INFANT AGAIN)

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I have never understood either one of these. I have voluntarily done tons of both of these, and I can tell you that I didn't gain anything other than an aching back, neck, wrist, and I hyper-extended my elbows. This is probably the 2nd most used exercise for "professional bootcamp" instructors to use due to the fact that it requires no equipment and crawling around a floor is exhausting (there is a reason why we walk everywhere). The "claimed" benefits to this exercise are similar to the burpee. It supposedly is a whole body toner, calorie burner, and I even read that it works on "hand eye coordination" (what the hell does that mean?). The funniest thing about these two exercises is even though they are one of the most popular ass kickers to choose from, the "bootcamp instructors" do not perform themselves. Huh? Well either way here is the list of pros and cons:

PROS:

1. Learn to be a child again

2. You might be able to audition for Spiderman or Night Crawler

3. Learn to sneak up on your spouse behind the couch and scare the living crap out of them. (Voted FRANKLIN STRENGTH'S Personal Favorite)

CONS:

1. Every single thing about these exercises

2. Stop doing them please.

REPLACEMENT EXERCISES:

1. PUSH UP VARIATIONS - Close Grips, Spider Push Ups, Wide Push Ups, TRX Push Ups, Ring Push Ups

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2. Sled Push - Any form of pushing for lower body development

3. Inverted Rows - On rings or trx straps

4. Renegade Rows 

5. Pretty much anything else

CONCLUSION:

There is a really good quote I was once told by a very wise man.. "Just because something is hard doesn't make it optimal." Stop fooling yourself that crawling around on the ground is the BEST way to build muscle and burn fat. Most of the times the only reason to choose this exercise is to SPICE things ups and make you tired. Forget spice! Master the basics and once you perform like Bruce Lee then we can start your damn ninja training. But til that day comes... leave the crawling to the babies. 

DUMB USELESS EXERCISE #3

BOX JUMPS (AKA ACHILLES HEAL)

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**PLEASE READ ENTIRELY BEFORE YOU LOSE YOUR MIND**

Box Jumps are the holy grail to see who is a better impersonation of a spider monkey (or a lemur). It technically doesn't have a lot to do with how high you can jump (not a vertical test) but rather how high you can bring your knees up. And now in today's exercise world, people are using these as a calorie burning and cardiovascular test. They are actually jumping on to the box, jumping off, and then jumping on again (hence why we call it "Achilles heal", because you will pop it). There is not much aesthetic development, unless you're looking to sculpt your calves and feet (great for hobbits). This exercise, if implemented and taught correctly, can be somewhat useful in creating hip explosion for various sports. But we aren't really talking about sports. Because let's face it... most of us are has-beens, never-was, maybe in a different life, washed up ex-weekend warriors looking to fit into some nice clothes and look good naked. So I don't want you to think we should completely retire this movement. With that said here are the pros and cons:

PROS:

1. Mandatory movement for anyone performing or learning Parkour.

2. Possibly the only exercise on the planet that will burn more calories due to increase of heart rate from fear of slicing your shins wide open (the people with scars know what I'm talking about).

3. Great Exercise to throw into a really tough "workout" to remind us how tired we are. EXAMPLE: 100 yard bear crawl 100x burpees and 100xBox Jumps As many rounds as possible in 1 hour.

CONS:

1. You will eventually slice your shin wide open.

2. We really aren't spider monkey or lemurs.

3. If you jump off and jump back on a lot you will hurt you achilles.

4. See number 1.

REPLACEMENT EXERCISES: 

1. Jump Rope - One of the best conditioning tools on the planet. And no I'm not talking about doing tricks with the damn thing. I mean simple old school jumping rope.

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2. Broad Jump - Much better at creating explosive hips for athletes.

3. Jumping on a trampoline - for the people that just like to jump around and you won't have to fear busting your shins open.

CONCLUSION:

"THE JUICE IS NOT WORTH THE SQUEEZE". This exercise really isn't worth the risk. Save yourself, your shins, your embarrassing stories of why and how you popped your Achilles tendon and just do not do this one. Do yourself a favor and buy a jump rope or a trampoline (get a short one so you don't jump too high and fall off. I know you "extreme exercisers" will find a way to ruin that for everyone also.)

WARNING:

For the people that are outraged about this article because you are a person that performs these exercises and love them or you are a trainer/fitness instructor/elite exerciser and teach others how to perform these, please send your complaints to our complaint department. We will do our best to get back you as soon as possible. But in the mean time... just keep doing them. We are not law makers nor are we geniuses (Coach Rick might be). We are Observers that test EVERYTHING on ourselves and our clients. We keep what works the best for a specific goal. Whatever you do... never believe everything you read. Just go out and test it for yourselves. 

GODSPEED 

 

** This article was authored and written by Daniel Johnson. All information in this article is based on the author's personal experiences and is in no way portrayed to be scientifically proven. This information is to be used at the reader's discretion. Any person using this information in a representation of themselves without credit to the original author will be pursued (DO NOT PLAGIARIZE MY MATERIAL!). As you read this article, there is a good chance you may or may not find spelling or grammatical errors -- there is no need for you to point this out, the author does not care. Use the information or don't use it, but keep your comments to yourself.

October 11, 2014 by Daniel Johnson

SQUATS... IS IT REALLY THE KING PART II ("THE AVERAGE JOE")

Strong - "Having great physical power and ability : having a lot of strength"

In the last article, SQUATS ...IS IT REALLY THE KING PART I ("THE ATHLETE"), we discussed the different variations of Squats, the benefits and also the pitfalls. Now the focus of that article was geared towards the "Athlete". Specifically, geared towards an athlete with a small amount of time for getting ready to go into the season for his specific sport. In this article, we will give 3 scenarios for the "Averege Joe".  Now, when we say average, it means the everyday normal guy or girl who works, has kids, and a busy lifestyle. These Joe's are looking to build muscle, tone up, and get stronger while also not getting hurt. This segment is not to be confused with the person who enjoys strict powerlifting but has absolutely no intentions on competing. For those people, I say stick to the back squat. But for everyone else, this might give you some alternative exercises for getting stronger and building solid muscle. **Also keep in mind, these scenarios are geared towards finding an alternative to the back squat. In everyone of the Joe's training they would be performing a lot of different exercises other than the ones listed. The ones listed are just in PLACE of the "Back Squat".

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Scenario #1 "Leslie"

Woman walks into the gym and wants to lose weight and get into shape. Thats pretty vague, right? Well she is 5'3" has a body fat of 31% and has never done any weightlifting or any form for strength training in her life. She has done several spin classes and is an advent walker. After further assessing her, we see that she is very inflexible and has had an on and off again lower back pain. So let's get a task list together... If we are just looking at her strength and conditioning program (putting her nutrition aside), it looks like we have some options... 

Option #1 - Spend 4 to 6 weeks on body weight exercises to strengthen her overall body weight strength base. Get her familiar with correct movement patterns and work on the inflexible parts. 

Option #2 - First day in the gym give her a PVC pipe on her back to imitate the king of all exercises, "the back squat", in order to get her body primed because we are going to be using that exercise.  Shortly after that, begin to put a bar on her back; then slowly add weight. 

Option #3 - Take option 1 and after that, continue working on her inflexibilities, while at the same time assess which exercise will be best suited as a good option for building overall strength.

Now, none of these options are "bad".  They all take things slow, and all will help work on her flexibility issues.  With that said, to me, Option #3 seems to be a better choice out of the 3.  See, when someone comes into the gym with little to no experience in strength training they will always get stronger no matter what exercise you choose. That's why so many people always see rapid results for the first 6 months. After those first months, the strength gains tend to slow down a bit. That is our body acclimating to the stress we are putting it through. For "Leslie", the most important thing that will lead her to her goal is her food (by far), but when it comes to her strength and conditioning, the fact that she has had on and off again low back pain makes me want to fix and assess that problem first before putting any spinal compression on her. Maybe a good lift would be dumbbell Bulgarian Squats, followed up with some reverse hypers to help give traction to her back. Or maybe some belt squats so there isn't any spinal compression on her back. There are plenty of exercises to choose from that will still make her stronger and help her reach her goal. I just don't think the Back Squat is a must in order for her to do that.

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Scenario Number #2 "Jason"

Jason is a weekend warrior. He is 6'1" 200 lbs, with a body fat of 17% and 44 years old. He competes in Spartan runs, tough mudders, and all the other crazy things geared towards people hurting themselves so they feel like bad-asses while covered in rocks and mud. He comes into the gym because he wants to get "STRONGER". He has no desire to work on body composition (so he says) but does want to build "lean" muscle. So I simply ask him what he would like to get stronger at? He replies he wants his overall strength to increase. So at this point, I'm pretty sure he just read the most recent Muscle Mag and in it was probably some famous person talking about "overall strength" or he watched ESPN 5 and saw late night strongman competitions or something. So I take him through his assessment and stumble upon many minor injuries, low back, knee pain in both legs, an ankle issue, mid back pain when he sleeps and lots of tension in his neck. His flexibility is non-existent. So the approach I am going to take with him is...

Jason's Prescription: Spend the first 4 weeks addressing the "issues". Foam rolling, stretching out and tons of mobility exercises. As for his strength training to help him with his Weekend activities... Once I achieve a base level of flexibility, I would probably prefer to start with belt squats and leg presses/sled. With his knee pain and ankle issue, that will limit his ability to squat with most loads and use accurate form. The belt squat will be a wider stance which will shorten the range of motion and keep his shins more vertical (a bit easier on knee stress) while also putting no load on the spine. The leg press will isolate the lower body but will let him use a high weight to help increase leg strength. The sled is a great tool for quad and glute strength and development.... put a ton of weight on, and a strap, then walk backwards for a while (that will definitely help build those legs).  All of these exercises will help build overall lower body strength which will impart help him with his weekend activities. But not addressing these issues will turn into a major problem down the road. So in this case the back squat would take a back seat.

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Scenario #3 "Alex"

Alex is 38 years old, 5'11", 215 lbs with a body fat of 12%.  Alex played sports in high school and college but stayed in the gym most of his life. He works a full-time office job and has 4 kids that all have extracurricular activities. He comes to the gym looking for something "different". He has been doing the same routine for the past several years and feels kind of stagnant. His goals are to get a little leaner, add some more size to his frame, and get stronger. His only glitch is... he can only lift weights 2 days out of the week. So in his assessment, I find that he has no major issues. No injuries or aches and pains. His flexibility is really good and right off the bat I can tell he has great genetics. Basically a dream client. Now for the training part: with only 2 days a week to lift, the simple route would be Monday and Thursday. That gives ample rest between training. Also I would opt for Full Body on both days. Monday would be Deadlifts for the lower body, and Thursday would be Squat on the lower body. But I would replace the traditional back squat with the Front Squat. See the back squat puts a huge emphasis on the glutes, hams, and low back (which the deadlift is taking care of on Monday). Where as the Front Squat puts a huge emphasis on the quads (which is what we will be missing). Some might argue that I am nit picking here but this is all from my experience. And I believe this is what would be better for Alex overall. 

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In Conclusion for the "Average Joe"... No one is really "Average". And not one thing works for everyone. You have to simply experiment to find out what works best for each individual. There are plenty of people out there that get great results only using the Back Squat. Where as others have had not so great results. But as I've said before, the best tool to use is the one that works. And by "works", I mean the one that creates constant progress towards whatever the specific goal is for each individual. If it works for you... then keep using it. But if it doesn't, well then hopefully you got some new info from this article to help you continue forward to progress.

GODSPEED.

 

** This article was authored and written by Daniel Johnson. All information in this article is based on the author's personal experiences and is in no way portrayed to be scientifically proven. This information is to be used at the reader's discretion. Any person using this information in a representation of themselves without credit to the original author will be pursued (DO NOT PLAGIARIZE MY MATERIAL!). As you read this article, there is a good chance you may or may not find spelling or grammatical errors -- there is no need for you to point this out, the author does not care. Use the information or don't use it, but keep your comments to yourself.  

September 07, 2014 by Daniel Johnson

WHY YOU'RE GETTING NOWHERE...

Ok, you have been hitting the gym everyday and trying to "change" your eating habits. So you keep this up for about 6 months and at first you saw awesome results. Now all of a sudden it seems as though you have just come to a stop. Thinking you might need some more "calorie burning," you start throwing in some more cardio to get those awesome results again but that doesn't seem to help much. Now you are a bit frustrated... and in your constant battle of frustration, you decide the hell with it and go out on a week long binge of dense calorie foods and maybe some drinks to drown those sorrows a bit. So, as the guilt sweeps in, you tell yourself that you're gonna make it right by hitting the gym hard on Monday and eating "clean" everyday until you hit your goals. Four weeks go by and your progress is stalled again, so you binge. Then you hit sobriety again. This process just keeps going on and on, and some times it never stops. Let's take a minute to talk about some things you are missing that might save you from your on/off exercise program you have created.  

#1 STOP LETTING YOUR MIND GET IN THE WAY...
Your heart is in the right place, but your mind is sabotaging you. First ask yourself, "Who told me working out everyday is good?"  How did you come to that assumption? In weight training... MORE is not always better. Sometimes LESS is more. Now, before we go any further, understand that the increase of volume and stress over time is how you build muscle and strength. But that does not mean you have to do it all in one day. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. So stop trying to run towards your goals and start climbing up to them. Your mind is your biggest enemy and also you best motivator. Just get it in check with your goals, and that will help you from burning out to fast.

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#2 WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN...
How do you know where you are going if you don't know where you have been? Here's an example: Monday you do a "killer" workout; you don't write anything down - you just know you sweated a lot and everything is sore on your body. Then next Monday you do another workout which is not really that hard of a workout, and the next day you gained 2 lbs. So does that mean it was because you didn't work as hard as the previous Monday, or was it the double bacon cheeseburger you ate that night? No one knows because you don't keep track of it all. Training is all about progression. The only way to progress is to keep track of what you're doing so you know when to switch it up, add more weight, eat more or less food, so on and so fourth. We are all scientists, searching for a specific result (lose body fat, build muscle, etc). The gym is our lab, and our training and food intake are our variables. SO WRITE SHIT DOWN!!!!

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#3 DO YOUR OWN TEST...
I had a guy yesterday approach me about a "new" supplement coming onto the market and wondered if he should take it. I simply replied, "Is your diet that perfect that you need to add this supplement in?" He kind of stared at me like I had 2 heads. He proceeded to tell me how Dr. Oz recommends it and it's awesome. I asked if he had ever taken it and he said no. So I tell him he should take it for a month and change nothing else in his diet or life to see if it actually works. Again he looked at me like I had 2 heads. He said well I have to eat better and workout for it to "work". In which case I replied, "how will you know it's the supplement then?" He looked confused, as if altering one's diet and exercise would produce positive results right? The point of this story is to do your own "studies". Don't let anyone tell you, sell you, or fool you into doing anything. Test things yourself. Don't go gluten free because some Crossfit guru says cavemen didn't eat gluten. Cavemen would eat their own shit if they were hungry enough -- that doesn't mean I am going to do that. And gluten tastes really good, especially when it's in the form of a roll with a bit of sugar and butter on it. 

All three things aid each other... Don't let your mind get in the way of constant progress, keep track of your constant progress so you know when to switch things up or slow things down, and do your own tests to see what works for you. Now go out there and make some science happen, but please don't go eat your own shit...ever. 

** This article was authored and written by Daniel Johnson. All information in this article is based on the author's personal experiences and is in no way portrayed to be scientifically proven. This information is to be used at the reader's discretion. Any person using this information in a representation of themselves without credit to the original author will be pursued (DO NOT PLAGIARIZE MY MATERIAL!). As you read this article, there is a good chance you may or may not find spelling or grammatical errors -- there is no need for you to point this out, the author does not care. Use the information or don't use it, but keep your comments to yourself.

September 19, 2014 by Daniel Johnson

SQUATS... IS IT REALLY THE KING PART I ("THE ATHLETE")

Strong -  "Having great physical power and ability : having a lot of strength"

When you look up the definition for strong or strength you will find a ton of answers. I wanted to show the meaning of the word before we move into this topic. 

SQUATS. Everyone's favorite "Strength" lift. I'm not kidding... if you walk into any strength and conditioning facility most of them will tell you that squats are the KING of all exercises. This article is not meant to discredit these people or gyms that claim this, rather it is intended to give people another approach for building strength and power in individuals. Now back to squatting...

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When most people refer to squats being king, they are usually implying the Back Squat performed by using a barbell. People love this lift for its ability to build overall strength and muscular development. Also this lift is great for building balance and flexibility. Now, if you dig deeper into the Squat-fanatic's mind you will see there are many variations of the squat. There is the "High bar back squat" and "Low bar back squat", referring to the placement of the bar on your back.  And depending on what region of the world you are from and political views you have determine which back squat is more superior in your eyes. (No joke people go to war over this topic). There also several different exercises that are a form of squat: front squat, over head squat, hack squat, etc. We will not be talking much about those; we will just focus on the BARBELL SQUAT in general. As I listed above, there are many benefits of using the barbell squat in ones training program. Arguably, it's one of the few exercises where you can really move a significant amount of weight in order to build strength in the lower body. Also this lift requires a lot of flexibility, which is a good and bad thing depending how you look at it. When choosing a squat variation or determine if they are a good fit for your program or your athletes you must first assess the athlete, and yourself. Let me give an example...

THE ATHLETE

"Joseph" walks into my gym tomorrow and says he wants to build strength, power, and speed for football. Joseph is an upcoming college freshman going to a Division 1 School. I say, "Awesome, let's do it." So on day one I assess him and put him through some tests to check his balance and flexibility. On his "basic squat" assesment I see that he has an excessive forward lean and his knee collapses, which tells me that his soleous, short head hamstring, adductor and his vastus lateralis (outside of the quadricep) muscles are severely tight and over active. I also see that his glutes are severely under active. Mainly these compensations are due to a lack of joint mobility. With that all said, I am informed that I only have 12 weeks to work with Joseph to make him ready for football. So I have a couple options here...

Option #1

Ignore his horrible form and lack of joint mobility and make him back squat every damn day because its the "KING". Also ignore the possibility of injury.

Option #2

Spend the majority of our training time working on stretching and rolling the living hell out of him until he can squat perfectly. So he can properly perform the "KING". 

Option #3

SKIP the damn Squat. Use alternative exercises which he can perform using proper form and biomechanics, that also help build strength and power. Establish a proper Mobility regimen to address his under and over active muscle to help enhance his abilities and help prevent fire injury.

I think we may have found a winner! Option 3. 

Now this is just one example and if Joseph was in the sport of Power Lifting or Weightlifting then yes he would squat until his legs fell off.  If I had years to work with someone to correct their form and joint mobility then yes I would probably work on squats but would never rely on them. If I got someone in my gym with perfect form right off the bat, yes we would squat but again I would not rely on them nor base the whole program completely off of "THE SQUAT". 

Training is about creating a stimulus to make the athlete bigger, faster and/or stronger. In no GOOD training program should it be solely surrounded by one exercise to create that stimulus. It should be surrounded by what needs to be addressed and what works best.Each athlete is completely different than the next. And what works for one will not always work for the other. I believe too many people put an emphasis on certain lifts needing to be done for "athletes". What's going to make an athlete good at his or her sport is not squatting. It's actually playing their sport. Strength training helps an athlete get their bodies stronger for that sport. Conditioning helps the athlete get more conditioned for their sport. Now I'm not saying to throw strength training or squats out the window for athletes. I am simply saying remember what sport they play. Games are not won in the weight room. They are won on the court or field. So when doing a training program for an athlete or specific sport, it's best to find one that will make them stronger, more powerful, more flexible, but while still keeping them injury free so they can perform at their best for their sport. Experiment and find what wakes for your athletes best. Don't just do it because someone else told you too. Training is always evolving, that's one of the great things about it. What works today may not be the best way in 50 years. It's very important we as coaches continue to be students of our clients and athletes because they are the ones that show us what truly works for each person.

Follow up on our next blog... 

"SQUATS...IS IT REALLY KING PART II ("THE AVERAGE JOE")"

 

** This article was authored and written by Daniel Johnson. All information in this article is based on the author's personal experiences and is in no way portrayed to be scientifically proven. This information is to be used at the reader's discretion. Any person using this information in a representation of themselves without credit to the original author will be pursued (DO NOT PLAGIARIZE MY MATERIAL!). As you read this article, there is a good chance you may or may not find spelling or grammatical errors -- there is no need for you to point this out, the author does not care. Use the information or don't use it, but keep your comments to yourself.

April 17, 2014 by Daniel Johnson

TRAINING VS. EXERCISING

Me: "Hi. This is Daniel."

Client: "Yes I was wondering how much your unlimited a month is at Franklin Strength?"

Me: "We don't offer an unlimited a month"

Client: "You don't??!! Why not?"

Me: "We believe our 'classes' serve as a supplement to your current training program, not a replacement.  Do you currently follow a training program or regimen?"

Client: "NO" 

That is how most calls go when I pick up the phone at Franklin Strength. Now, I am in no way saying exercising is bad for you. But with that said....... Some of it is. When any one walks through my doors for the first time I immediately ask them, "What are your goals?" Every single person has a goal. Whether they want to look good, get stronger, get faster, be healthy, or be able to do 100 push-ups without stopping. Those are all goals. Now people might share a common goal. For example: wanting to build muscle while getting leaner (basically they want to look like the guy or girl on the cover of a magazine).  But what that person has to do to reach that goal will be completely different than the next person. BINGO!  Now we are getting to the point of this post. See, when a person exercises, they might have the goal to be leaner and build muscle.... but going into your local boot camp everyday might not be the best route for you to reach that goal. This is because you are doing the exact same thing as the person next to you, who might already be lean or might be way out of shape. And also following directions from a "coach" that rolls dice to choose the EXERCISES for the day! Exercising is the act of moving around while thinking that what you are doing for your body is good. Training is working towards a goal. Every time a pro boxer is getting ready for a fight, they call it their "training camp" not their "exercising camp". Training always has an end goal or end result. Exercising has no plan and is basically random with hopes for the best. Some people might enjoy just going and exercising, and there is nothing wrong with that. I myself do not enjoy it. I don't enjoy training. I enjoy reaching a goal and accomplishing what I set out to do. So with all that said, I personally can't imagine going and killing myself in a workout and that being my only accomplishment. If that was the case I would push my car to work rather than drive it just because it hurts. HAVE A PLAN! What I am going to do now is list the top five things you should be doing whether you're training or just exercising.

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TRAINING

1. HAVE A GOAL. AND MAKE SURE WHAT YOU'RE DOING COINCIDES WITH THAT GOAL.

2. KEEP A JOURNAL WITH NOTES OF ALL OF YOUR WORKOUTS AND PREFERABLY YOUR NUTRITION.  How do you know where you're going if you don't know where you have been?

3. PLAN YOUR WORKOUTS AHEAD OF TIME. Preferably 3 to 4 weeks in advance. I am firm believer you need to stick with something for at least 3 weeks before you switch it up.

4. TAKE MUSCLE CONFUSION WITH A GRAIN OF SALT.  Just because some people randomly roll dice to figure out what they are exercising doesn't mean you should. And on that note, a lot of people call that "programming?". We are not computers. You program a computer and YOU TRAIN AN ANIMAL.  Muscle Confusion doesn't mean every day do something completely different. See, your body doesn't speak English, so a squat and a "thruster" both use your quads.  A push up and a shoulder press both use your shoulders.  And all of them use your heart (which is a muscle). So the real definition of muscle confusion is... when following a program you will find a spot when you plateau, which is totally normal. What you do then is look back at your notes, see what you could change, check you food to see how that's going. If everything has been very consistent then it might be time to switch up your routine. This usually happens to seasoned lifters every 8 to 12 weeks. As for beginners... they can follow the same routine for a longer length of time and still continue making gains. My rule is when you plateau switch it up.

5. BE PATIENT.  In the 10 years I have been training, I have learned nothing happens over night. Consistency and discipline is what brings results. Not variety and convenience. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Nothing trumps hard work, and nothing is better than experience. It takes both of those to continue making gains.

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EXERCISING

1. BE SAFE. If you walk into a "class" and they are doing 30 Snatches for time...... leave. Make sure the classes you are going to limit the amount of people in their classes and they use general exercises to get the job done. 30 Snatches as fast as you can in a row will give you tons of results such as going to a chiropractor, having to take ibuprofen often, sleeping like hell, tendonitis, and more than likely make you look like an ape throwing a stick up and down. General movements include: pushups, pull ups, sled pushes, sled pulls, lunges, body squats ect. Now I know what everyone is thinking..... All of those "exercises" could get you hurt also, true, but in my experience with training people, these general movements lower the likeliness of injury due to the fact that they are less technical

2. STOP GYM HOPING. Going around from gym to gym every few weeks might sound like Baskin Robins, but how is anyone going to be able to fix your form and correct certain things to make you better if you don't give them the chance? If a gym does you wrong or isn't helping, then yes, leave. But if you are leaving just to spice things up then that's a problem. You are only wasting your time.

3. BE EFFICIENT. When exercising, the goal is to give 110% in a very short time. If a person comes to a class and gives 50%, it's no wonder why that person thinks they need to go 6 days a week. Your goal should be to get in and get out!  That's how you shed the fat. Give everything you've got and let your body do the rest on your days off from exercising.

4. DON'T LET SWEAT OR PAIN BE YOUR GUIDE. Too many people are under the assumption that you must puke, pass out, have a near death experience, or possibly go into labor to have a good workout. Most people are in the gym for either aesthetics or performance. Puking nor sweat helps achieve either one. If you want to get somewhere faster, change you food (saved for another post).

5. GO FOLLOW THE RULES ON THE "TRAINING" SECTION . Seriously, establish a goal and find or create a training program that will help you achieve that goal. 

 

** This article was authored and written by Daniel Johnson.  All information in this article is based on the author's personal experiences and is in no way portrayed to be scientifically proven.  This information is to be used at the reader's discretion.  Any person using this information in a representation of themselves without credit to the original author will be pursued (DO NOT PLAGIARIZE MY MATERIAL!). As you read this article, there is a good chance you may or may not find spelling or grammatical errors -- there is no need for you to point this out, the author does not care.  Use the information or don't use it, but keep your comments to yourself. 

March 10, 2014 by Daniel Johnson

FIVE FAST FOOD LUNCH OPTIONS

5 FAST FOOD LUNCH OPTIONS 

Yes you read that right...FAST FOOD. People that know me know that I barely eat out. So when trying to come up with a quick way for people to shed body fat and build lean muscle, I thought.... "If you can't beat 'em (over the head with chicken breast and food scales), join 'em (out to lunch and force them to eat what you order, because you did the work for them by looking this stuff up.)

So with out further a due...Here is the list. We put them together in order of worst to best. Each one was rated 1-4 on four different categories. TASTE, CONVENIENCE, SATISFACTION, AND PRICE. 

*1 BEING HORRIBLE AND 5 BEING EPIC

**ALSO THESE MEALS FIT INTO "MY" MACROS. IF YOU WANT LESS CARBS, ORDER LESS CARBS. IF YOU WANT MORE FAT... ADD FAT. YOU GET THE IDEA.

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JIMMY JOHNS

1x Slim #4 WITH CHEESE (EXTRA TURKEY BREAST)

130g of Blueberries (2 handfuls or 1 cup)

Calories = 664

Fat = 12.9g

Sat. Fat = 5g

Cholesterol = 85mg

Sodium = 1201.2mg

Carbs = 94.2g

Fiber = 8.1g

Sugar = 13g

Protein = 51.9g

 

TASTE = 2

CONVENIENCE = 4.5

SATISFACTION = 2.5

PRICE = 2.5 ($6.51@JIMMIE JOHNS AND $4 FOR BLUEBERRIES)

TOTAL = 2.9

 

DISAPPOINTMENT. I have had so many people love this place. Now in Jimmy's defense, I had the lowest calorie thing on their menu. The meat was tasteless, the bread was ok, and I didn't taste the cheese. I will say I understand what the term "FREAKY FAST" means now... took 6 seconds to have my order ready. Literally the guy had it done before I was done paying. The Sandwhich had barely any fiber so I brought some blueberries to help that out a bit. If I ever go again I won't order this, but someone desperate that loves this place and looking for a "better" option... I suppose you could eat here. 

  Chick-fil-a 1x Grilled Chicken Sandwich (no cheese) 1x 6 pcs Grilled Chicken Nuggets 120g of Raspberries (2 handfuls or 1 cup)  Calories = 484 Fat = 8.7g Sat. Fat = 3g Cholesterol =120mg Sodium = 1201.2mg Carbs = 57.4g Fiber = 10.2g Sugar = 13.3g Protein = 48.4g   TASTE = 4.5 CONVENIENCE = 3.5(IF IN DIRVE THROUGH) 5(IF INSIDE) SATISFACTION = 4.5 PRICE = 3.5 ($7.57@CHICKFILA AND $2.50 FOR RASPBERRIES)  TOTAL = 4   First time for me and I must say... pretty damn impressed. Let's start at TASTE. For fast food? Pretty good. The bread was hearty and the meat was flavored good. Again, the meal was lacking in fiber so I brought some raspberries from home (yes I know they don't sell this there but it's easy to pack with me on the go). I was decently satisfied with the meal. I was full and felt ready to go. I actually had this meal an hour before my lift and had one of my better sessions. But the best is the service. They bring the food to you. I was also asked 3 times by 3 of the workers how my day was going. I kindly replied horribly but it's the fact that they asked me that counts. The bad is 2 things.... do not go through drive-thru, ever. Go inside for sure. The 2nd was the price. I mean damn you would have though I went to chipotle or something. People will go broke going to this place, seriously.

 

Chick-fil-a

1x Grilled Chicken Sandwich (no cheese)

1x 6 pcs Grilled Chicken Nuggets

120g of Raspberries (2 handfuls or 1 cup) 

Calories = 484

Fat = 8.7g

Sat. Fat = 3g

Cholesterol =120mg

Sodium = 1201.2mg

Carbs = 57.4g

Fiber = 10.2g

Sugar = 13.3g

Protein = 48.4g

 

TASTE = 4.5

CONVENIENCE = 3.5(IF IN DIRVE THROUGH) 5(IF INSIDE)

SATISFACTION = 4.5

PRICE = 3.5 ($7.57@CHICKFILA AND $2.50 FOR RASPBERRIES) 

TOTAL = 4

 

First time for me and I must say... pretty damn impressed. Let's start at TASTE. For fast food? Pretty good. The bread was hearty and the meat was flavored good. Again, the meal was lacking in fiber so I brought some raspberries from home (yes I know they don't sell this there but it's easy to pack with me on the go). I was decently satisfied with the meal. I was full and felt ready to go. I actually had this meal an hour before my lift and had one of my better sessions. But the best is the service. They bring the food to you. I was also asked 3 times by 3 of the workers how my day was going. I kindly replied horribly but it's the fact that they asked me that counts. The bad is 2 things.... do not go through drive-thru, ever. Go inside for sure. The 2nd was the price. I mean damn you would have though I went to chipotle or something. People will go broke going to this place, seriously.

  BACKYARD BURGER 1x Grilled Chicken Sandwich (NO CHEESE, NO MAYO, NO PICKLE) 28g of Beanitos Nacho Cheese Chips (1 handful or 1 cup) Calories = 484 Fat = 11.6g Sat. Fat = 1.5g Cholesterol = 55mg Sodium = 1413.3mg Carbs = 61.9g Fiber = 8.3g Sugar = 5.5g Protein = 35.2g   TASTE = 4.5 CONVENIENCE = 4.5 SATISFACTION = 4 PRICE = 4 ($5.23@BYB AND $.88 FOR SERVING OF BEANITOS CHIPS) TOTAL = 4.25   Seriously, this was the best chicken sandwich I have had from a restaurant. All I had was lettuce, tomato, chicken and bun and this thing was perfect. Sadly they had no side items with a good source of fiber so I brought some Beanitos chips (they are EPIC - go get them). They did have a side salad but I am not a rabbit so I will never partake in eating grass like that. Convenience was great if you go in. They always seem to have a line outside but inside they had my order in 1 min and 47 seconds. Satisfaction was good but I could have eaten 2 of them pretty easy. Price was not too bad for what you get. Overall, I give this one the FRANKLIN STRENGTH "DAMN THAT'S SURPRISINGLY GOOD" AWARD. 

 

BACKYARD BURGER

1x Grilled Chicken Sandwich (NO CHEESE, NO MAYO, NO PICKLE)

28g of Beanitos Nacho Cheese Chips (1 handful or 1 cup)

Calories = 484

Fat = 11.6g

Sat. Fat = 1.5g

Cholesterol = 55mg

Sodium = 1413.3mg

Carbs = 61.9g

Fiber = 8.3g

Sugar = 5.5g

Protein = 35.2g

 

TASTE = 4.5

CONVENIENCE = 4.5

SATISFACTION = 4

PRICE = 4 ($5.23@BYB AND $.88 FOR SERVING OF BEANITOS CHIPS)

TOTAL = 4.25

 

Seriously, this was the best chicken sandwich I have had from a restaurant. All I had was lettuce, tomato, chicken and bun and this thing was perfect. Sadly they had no side items with a good source of fiber so I brought some Beanitos chips (they are EPIC - go get them). They did have a side salad but I am not a rabbit so I will never partake in eating grass like that. Convenience was great if you go in. They always seem to have a line outside but inside they had my order in 1 min and 47 seconds. Satisfaction was good but I could have eaten 2 of them pretty easy. Price was not too bad for what you get. Overall, I give this one the FRANKLIN STRENGTH "DAMN THAT'S SURPRISINGLY GOOD" AWARD. 

  CHIPOTLE  1x Burrito (Chicken, White Rice, Fresh Tomato Salsa) Calories = 685 Fat = 21g Sat. Fat = 4g Cholesterol - 125mg Sodium = 1,875mg Cabs = 84g Fiber = 5g Sugar = 3g Protein = 43.5g   Taste = 5 Convenience = 1.5 (during Busy times) 5 (when empty) Satisfaction = 4.5 Price = 4 ($6.50 PLUS TAX) TOTAL = 3.75 (WHEN BUSY) 4.62 (WHEN NOT BUSY)   We all knew this would be on the list. Come on people, they put crack in their food and I am seriously an addict. Ok Taste got a 5 but I would have given it a 10. I know there are some Moe's Fans out there that are pissed right now. but sorry man I have to choose a side, and I chose the one with white subway tile on the walls and ikea tables that feel like I am going to break it when I sit down. Convenice though.... not so good if you go from the hours of 12 to 2 and 6 till 8:30. The line is great time to check Instagram or something but not good if you are hitting your 3 hour time mark for sustenance. The Burrito is always satisfying unless the person tears the tortilla and acts like no one saw it. And the price is good for the amount of food you get. Definitely a go to!

 

CHIPOTLE 

1x Burrito (Chicken, White Rice, Fresh Tomato Salsa)

Calories = 685

Fat = 21g

Sat. Fat = 4g

Cholesterol - 125mg

Sodium = 1,875mg

Cabs = 84g

Fiber = 5g

Sugar = 3g

Protein = 43.5g

 

Taste = 5

Convenience = 1.5 (during Busy times) 5 (when empty)

Satisfaction = 4.5

Price = 4 ($6.50 PLUS TAX)

TOTAL = 3.75 (WHEN BUSY) 4.62 (WHEN NOT BUSY)

 

We all knew this would be on the list. Come on people, they put crack in their food and I am seriously an addict. Ok Taste got a 5 but I would have given it a 10. I know there are some Moe's Fans out there that are pissed right now. but sorry man I have to choose a side, and I chose the one with white subway tile on the walls and ikea tables that feel like I am going to break it when I sit down. Convenice though.... not so good if you go from the hours of 12 to 2 and 6 till 8:30. The line is great time to check Instagram or something but not good if you are hitting your 3 hour time mark for sustenance. The Burrito is always satisfying unless the person tears the tortilla and acts like no one saw it. And the price is good for the amount of food you get. Definitely a go to!

  SUBWAY 1x Turkey (lettuce,tomato, green peppers, banana peppers, vinegar) footlong Calories = 560 Fat = 7g Sat. Fat = 2g Cholesterol = 40mg Sodium = 1,340 Carbs = 92g Fiber = 10g Sugar = 14g Protein = 36g   TASTE = 4.5 CONVENIENCE = 5 (THEY ARE EVERYWHERE) SATISFACTION = 4.5 PRICE = 4 ($6.50 PLUS TAX) TOTAL = 4.75   And everybody just got mad. Yep "Jarred" was right... this is the KING of Fast Food in my book. Ok Taste... Bread is good (now they took out the "secreat ingredient"). The turkey actually had flavor. And they have tons of options to put on it. It has the highest Fiber content that I can see on any fast food sandwich. Convenience? Yea, they have 4 million locations just in ARKANSAS AND MISSISSIPPI ALONE (not that anyone needs to go to those states right now, I was just saying a very large exaggeration). It was decently filling when I ordered the footlong. And price? No one can touch it considering the massive amount of food you get. This, in my very humble opinion, gets the award for: KING OF BETTER CHOICE FAST FOOD  

 

SUBWAY

1x Turkey (lettuce,tomato, green peppers, banana peppers, vinegar) footlong

Calories = 560

Fat = 7g

Sat. Fat = 2g

Cholesterol = 40mg

Sodium = 1,340

Carbs = 92g

Fiber = 10g

Sugar = 14g

Protein = 36g

 

TASTE = 4.5

CONVENIENCE = 5 (THEY ARE EVERYWHERE)

SATISFACTION = 4.5

PRICE = 4 ($6.50 PLUS TAX)

TOTAL = 4.75

 

And everybody just got mad. Yep "Jarred" was right... this is the KING of Fast Food in my book. Ok Taste... Bread is good (now they took out the "secreat ingredient"). The turkey actually had flavor. And they have tons of options to put on it. It has the highest Fiber content that I can see on any fast food sandwich. Convenience? Yea, they have 4 million locations just in ARKANSAS AND MISSISSIPPI ALONE (not that anyone needs to go to those states right now, I was just saying a very large exaggeration). It was decently filling when I ordered the footlong. And price? No one can touch it considering the massive amount of food you get. This, in my very humble opinion, gets the award for:

KING OF BETTER CHOICE FAST FOOD

 

** This article was authored and written by Daniel Johnson. All information in this article is based on the author's personal experiences and is in no way portrayed to be scientifically proven. This information is to be used at the reader's discretion. Any person using this information in a representation of themselves without credit to the original author will be pursued (DO NOT PLAGIARIZE MY MATERIAL!). As you read this article, there is a good chance you may or may not find spelling or grammatical errors -- there is no need for you to point this out, the author does not care. Use the information or don't use it, but keep your comments to yourself.

September 30, 2014 by Daniel Johnson

TOP THREE THINGS TO BUILD LEAN MUSCLE

TOP 3 THINGS TO BUILD LEAN MUSCLE

Some might be wondering why this is posted in the "NUTRITION" section. Well, when building lean muscle, the food is where it happens. Think about it...how many people have you seen go to the gym and kill themselves day in and day out on the same old routine that they found in some magazine and saw little to no lean muscle gains? In my experience that seems to be the norm in most gyms. Now what I am going to tell you is not cutting edge or something new. Rather, it's just focusing your hard work from the GYM to the KITCHEN. So just a little change of mindset.

   

 

 

#1 EAT CARBS

I know this is going to start a war, but seriously...why would anyone want to live without carbs? Put nutritional reasons aside for a minute and tell me if you seriously never want to eat a carb again? Ok, good, so you are not insane. Now let's get to the "science" behind why you should eat them for building lean muscle. *Just a disclaimer...please read with caution. I have been training for many years now and much of what I write is through my experiences and tests with my own clients. When I say "science" it does not mean LAW. It means this is what I personally have found through trial and error.*  Now onto to some CARBS. Your body's preferred source of energy is Carbohydrates. Your body breaks the carbs down and stores it as energy into your liver and muscles, known as glycogen.  When doing any type of resistance training, your body will use its muscle glycogen as energy to push through the workout. Without glycogen stores your body will then go through a process called gluconeogenesis. This is where your body gets to work on making energy in the form of glucose any way it can. This is a little lengthy process (hence why gel packs are used in long runs or bike rides). Before that big G word takes place, your body might "crash" (hypoglycemia). This is where you get severely pissed about pretty much anything and everything in life. For some reason the only thing that might ease your anger is the thought of a krispy kreme donut. In the lab we call that a "C.R.A.C. Heads" (carbs really aren't coming). So to by pass all this frustration and anger towards innocent bystanders ...keep carbs in your diets. See there has been a war going on... Carbs vs No Carbs, Atkins vs Paula Dean, Paleo vs Itialians, Ketosis vs BroScience, and in these wars there really isn't anybody right or wrong per say. The truth to MPS (muscle protein synthesis) is PROTEIN. If you're getting enough protein in your diet to fuel MPS, perfect.  Now whether you're on a high fat or or high carb diet for your energy that's up to you. But in my experience, I enjoy having more energy (faster from carbs) in the gym to lift heavier weights more times to build more muscle. Building more muscle boosts your Metobolic Rate (How much gas you need in your tank) which means you can eat more and still lose body fat (take that last comment with a large grain of salt). Which also means when you go out to eat, you are not gonna gain 10lbs the next day like you did when you starved yourself for the week before because Atkins and Paleo told you to (Those dudes don't know what it's like on C.R.A.C.). In conclusion, Carbs help you by giving you more energy in the gym, fueling your body to lift heavier weights, maintaining your C.R.A.C. mood swings, and helping transport protein faster to the muscle for growth. Now go have a donut ...Just one.

   

 

 

#2 PREP YOUR FOOD AND HIT YOUR MACROS 

Very few of us can go about life, eat whatever we want, not have a care in the world, and build serious muscle. If you have been working out for some time now and noticed you haven't really changed physically and numbers aren't moving, ask these questions.... DO YOU FOOD PREP? and DO YOU MONITOR YOUR MACROS? If the answer is "No" to both of them then I have a little analogy for you. Not prepping your food or monitoring macros is like planning a trip cross country and paying no attention to your gas tank. If building muscle and getting lean was easy, every single person would be that way. But it's not; so for all of us that don't have "SUPERMAN GENETICS", we will just have to be cool with prepping our food, counting our macros, and going to work at the Daily Planet (Clark Kent's normal Job). Now "MACROS" (short for macronutrient) are Protein/Carbs/Fat and their breakdown in grams of each. And depending on your age, height, weight, body fat, activity level, and goal determines how many of each you need. There are tons of macro calculators on the web, such as www.iifym.com, Once you have determined your macros, then you prep out what you're gonna eat for the day or week. Now, the theory is this is more flexible because if it it fits in your macros you're "good". Now that doesn't mean you can eat a whole bag of Oreos...but you could eat a couple.  If you are the type that wants to lose weight, get lean, and build muscle without weighing your food, watching your portions, and counting your macros...well best of luck to you. Hopefully one day you will reach your goal, but who knows when without a plan. You can't build a house without a plan. Get over your laziness and your excuses and start building. 

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#3 LEUCINE

Leucine is an essential amino acid (means we don't make it - we have to ingest it from food or supplements). Some of you may not have ever heard of this before. Some of you have. Either way, Studies show consuming foods high in BCAA especially LEUCINE are linked to fat loss, building lean muscle, and protein synthesis. Now you don't nessicarily have to go fight the crowds to find this supplement. Just eating foods high in BCAA like eggs, milk, whey protein (isolate or concentrate) will help. Even lean proteins like chicken breast, bison, and cod have high amounts. When we workout we tear our muscles down, and that's when the real work kicks in for us. Eating 4 to 6 meals a day high in Leucine will make sure we are giving our muscles what we need. 

** This article was authored and written by Daniel Johnson. All information in this article is based on the author's personal experiences and is in no way portrayed to be scientifically proven. This information is to be used at the reader's discretion. Any person using this information in a representation of themselves without credit to the original author will be pursued (DO NOT PLAGIARIZE MY MATERIAL!). As you read this article, there is a good chance you may or may not find spelling or grammatical errors -- there is no need for you to point this out, the author does not care. Use the information or don't use it, but keep your comments to yourself.

September 07, 2014 by Daniel Johnson