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Coffee, Lots of Squats, and Arnold Schwarzenegger

I’m excited.
No, I didn’t PR in a deadlift, get 30 pounds of fresh bacon delivered to my door, or get a new car.
It’s actually getting warm outside and I had a hot date this week for coffee with my fiancé Lauren.

coffee, arnold schwarzenneger

Fifty and sixty degree temperatures and good coffee are boat-loads better than my car blowing negative degree air through the vents at 5:00 am as I trudge to the gym.

Now that I said, I’m sure Denver will get slammed with three snow-storms in the next two weeks.
[Note I checked the forecast and sure enough, snow and ice on the way.]

Since I’m drinking coffee now I have to add in some “literature” on my favorite caffeine source. It’s hard to believe I wasn’t coffee drinker until a year ago. Check out this post from the Bach Performance Facebook Page on a coffee study I came across this week.
Hint, stop it with the pre-workouts and grab a cup of Joe.

Anyways, I hope better weather comes your way, nothing beats being able to take your training outside.
This week my good friend Mike Campbell from Unleash Your Alpha sent me a challenge on Facebook. Mike nails an impressive 225 clean and jerk followed by a back lever.

I rebuttled by loading 225lbs on a barbell and knocked out 40 squats at the end of my workout. Depth wasn’t perfect I know, but it was a fun challenge regardless.

Eric  squats 225x40, workout finishers
Eric squats 225×40

[Don’t try this at home]

Challenges are always fun and this one prompted me to review my training journals from years past. One thing led to another and I made a list of my five favorite finishers and turned it into an article for Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold  Schwarzenegger is obviously a huge icon in the industry, so this is a huge honor that wouldn’t be possible without your support and community, thank you.

 5 Plateau Busting Finishers

Think back to the most fun you’ve had in the gym.
Yes, actual fun.
I’m sure it wasn’t fasted cardio, a dynamic squat workout, or even a workout filled with biceps, biceps, yoga pants, and biceps.
No, it was when you loosened the reins at the end of your workout, used your  creative side, and came up with a finisher to drain every ounce of energy from your body. It ‘s the workout equivalent to Mortal Kombat, with voices uttering “Finish Him” turning thoughts into action that leaves you completely spent after a grueling finish.

Finishers: What and Why

Finishers are short-term high-intensity exercises performed at the end of a workout, designed to maximize workout density and push your body and mind to the limit.
Getting in great shape typically requires some form of cardiovascular training, but it doesn’t have to be spent slugging away on a rickety treadmill. With finishers significant improvements in work capacity, muscle hypertrophy, and fat loss are derived in short, high intensity bursts using basic gym equipment.

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Dirty 30: Twigs To Tree Trunk Legs

The last few posts we talked about quick workouts: 30-minute fast-moving workouts to blast a body part in minimal time.

The feedback back has been an uproariously positive both here and on Facebookso thanks for being awesome. In case you haven’t been hangin’ around you can see yesterdays workout right here. >> 30 Minute Back Blitz <<

30 minutes is plenty of time to promote explosive growth and shred body fat: Especially when you’re blasting squats, jumps, and lunges.

Bach Performance Twigs to Tree Trunk Legs
PhotoCredit: www.niashanks.com/2011/08/train-like-a-girl-weekend-recap/

A balanced physique goes a long way towards a completely awesome body, and no area of the body is consistently neglected like the legs.

Guys with athletic and muscular legs…ergh butts grab the attention of females because a well-developed lower body screams power, confidence, and athleticism.

Similiarily, ladies with toned and shapely legs are the ultimate display of feminine strength and beauty.

This lower body blitz consists of compound exercises combined in super-sets to build strength, muscle, and burn fat. No leg extensions here! You’ll go from Twigs to Tree Trunks in less time than it takes driving to the gym.

This workout utilizes a highly effective strategy known as the contrast method. The contrast method combines heavy loaded exercises with explosive exercises performed in pairs. The contrast method utilizes the phenomena of PAP, which improves motor-unit recruitment and stimulates more muscle fibers.

30 Minute Muscle Building Tree Trunks Workout


Superset 1:

Barbell Front Squat: Squats are a staple in great workouts. Front squats challenge the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core to maintain position while taking stress off of the spine when compared to the back-squat.

Box Jumps: Combining this body-weight jump directly after a high-intensity strength exercise engages the muscles of the legs and train explosive power. Perform three sets of 10 reps directly after sets on the front squat. Be conservative with your box height and focus on landing in solid, stable position.

Superset 2:

Back Squats:Back squats place a greater emphasis on the hamstrings and glutes than the front squat. Perform one set of 10-15 reps with the heaviest weight you can handle, this should be NEAR failure.

Body weight jump squats: Immediately following your set of squats perform 1 all-out set of jump squats for 60 seconds. Rest one or two minutes and proceed to the next superset.

Superset 3:

Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts: This hip-dominant lower body exercise blasts the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. Perform three sets of eight, moving immediately to the next exercise between sets.

DB Calf Raise: Holding the same dumbbells from the Romanian deadlift immediately proceed to knock out 20 calf-blasting raises. Perform each rep slowly and deliberately rather than bouncing.

Alternating jump lunges: Using your bodyweight assume a lunge position and proceed to perform 20 jumping lunges, 10 on each leg. Stabilize your body between each jump.

This combination of heavy compound exercises, jumps, and varying rep ranges blasts the legs and promotes powerful training response in 30 short minutes.

 The Workout: Twigs to Tree Trunk Legs

1a. Barbell Front Squat 3×5 Rest 0

1b. Box Squat Jumps x8 Rest 60 Seconds

2a. Back Squats 1×10-15+ Rest 0

2b. BW Jump Squats x60-120 seconds

3a. DB RDL 3×8-10 Rest 0

3b. DB Calf Raises3x20 Rest 0

3c. Alternating Jump Lunges 3×20 Rest 1 minute

There you have it: A quick lower session to build powerful, dense legs and develop a fully rounded physique.

72 Hours and Counting

If you’re looking to build muscle, shred some fat, and build a healthy lifestyle I’m opening up my coaching program for a few lucky clients. I want to help you. 

Personal Training, build muscle,shred fat

Apply for the Coaching program today, as the I’m having a short-term Holiday Sale! This rate is normally top-secret and reserved for a few close friends and family, so take advantage before it goes away.  You can check it out here.

What is your go-to legs exercise? Better yet, how to you speed up workouts when short on time? 

photo credit: Gregor Winter via photopin cc

photo credit: Beverly & Pack via photopin cc

Strong. Shredded. Athletic.


Should Women Train Differently than Men?

Recently, I’ve been receiving questions on how females should train. Most have the goal of looking leaner, toned, and a more curvy. In this post, I wanted to answer the most frequently asked question, “Should Women train differently than men? ”

Short Answer: No, not really.

With the questions I frequently get, I have put together 7 considerations for helping sculpt a sexy female figure.

1.) “Toning” and “shaping” are not the answer.

Weight training in popular media for women generally revolves around words such as “toning and shaping.”
Lets examine “toning” This term is used to make muscles appear firmer, and tighter without them appearing bigger. It’s a common, but extremely thawed thought. Routines based upon “toning” likely involve extremely light weights for very high rep amounts. Think pink dumbbells for 20 rep sets of triceps kickbacks. Unfortunately, these routines are not challenging enough to the muscle to force growth and change.

Without challenging you body to grow and change, how will it look any better?  With or without excess fat, a body looks healthy and fit with a little more muscle.

Shaping offers a different, yet equally confusing idea. Muscles cannot be shaped; rather, they are pre-determined by your genetics. You can’t physiologically change a muscles shape, only whether it is bigger or smaller.

2.) You should lift heavy.

Certain goals for both men and women are similar. The most common is a firm, toned, sexy look. One of the best ways to get that look, for men or women, is with heavy weight. Lifting heavy weights is the fastest, and most efficient way to build myogenic muscle tone… or the highly dense, toned muscle that you seek.

Photo Credit: List09.com
Photo Credit: List09.com

“But won’t lifting heavier weights make me bigger?” This leads to right to my next point…

3.)No, lifting weights will NOT make you bigger.

Why? Building muscle is very, very, hard. Ask any guy. There is a reason we train year in, year out, eat copious amounts of dead animal flesh, and cherish any small, muscular changes. And that’s with a plethora of hormonal benefits from testosterone helping us out! Unless you have extremely rare genetics you won’t be piling on slabs of muscle and look like Hulk Hogan.

Additionally, there are tons of factors that mitigate muscle growth: Training style (most importantly, muscle tension and training volume), diet, and hormones (as mentioned above.) Unless you are taking external testosterone, training with way too much volume, and consuming a ton of excess calories you won’t be getting bulky.

With that thought, I recommend all women do some sort of heavy training once per week. 
Try squats, deadlifts, bench presses, push presses, and rows for 3-4 sets of 4-6 reps with the heaviest weight you can safely do.

4.) There is no such thing as spot reduction

Men and women deposit fat differently. Men generally carry more body fat centralized around the abdomen whereas women carry more excess fat around the hips and thighs. For both genders, spot reduction is a popular topic. In most cases, body fat is lost evenly throughout the body. Therefore, in order to be leaner in a particular area fat loss needs to occur all over.
I find the best exercises for losing fat all over are done in a standing position, such as sprints and high intensity weighting, rather than a seated position like a stationary bike, or rowing machine.

5.) Women have a different weight distribution than men.

Because women carry more weight in their lower body they are generally relatively weaker in the upper body, but just as relatively strong in the lower body. In most cases it’s best to regress upper body exercises, such as a push up or pull up.  Rather than watching in horror as a female grinds out worm-ups, regressed the exercise by performing it with a barbell racked off the ground. Just because someone can’t do a full exercise…yet… doesn’t mean they shouldn’t perform any variation.

6.) Women have better stamina than men

Women can handle a higher training density– less rest between sets and a higher volume– than their male counterpart. This may be due to an overall decrease in relative strength. This factor allows women to train at a higher frequency with a higher density than men.

*Note: Training density (doing more in less time) is a huge variable for fat loss.   

7.) Women need more protein

I find most of my female clients drastically under-consume protein. Protein does three awesome things for your body: Protein can blunt your appetite to keep you fuller for longer, speed up your metabolism, and help you maintain your muscle (giving you that toned, dense look) while stripping off  unwanted fat. I tell my female clients to have protein with any carbohydrate source and shoot for their body weight in grams of protein. This would mean a 120 lb female consumes roughly 120 grams of protein per day.

Wrap Up

Okay, I’ve got to run, but I gathered a list of great sites and resources for you to check out. These are some of the best fitness sites for females looking to build awesome bodies. Fellas, you can take a look to and stop giving poor advice to women who ask you :).







Let me know any questions you have and how you currently train!


“Beautiful Crossfit Woman.” List 09. N.p., n. d. Web. 18 Sep. 2013. <http://www.list09.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/crossfit-girl-Laura-Plumley1.jpg>.

Romaniello, John . “Sexy Female Training.” Roman Fitness Systems. N.p., n. d. Web. 18 Sep. 2013. <http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com/blog/6-tips-for-building-a-sexy-female-body/>.

Schuler , Lou, Cassandra Forsythe, and Alwyn Cosgrove.The New Rules of Lifting For Women . New York City: Penguin Group, 2007. Print.



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