Live your DREAMS or live your FEARS…

Facebook Post (1)When it’s put it on those terms, doesn’t it make you want to take action, to take a risk, to step out of your comfort zone and accomplish something new or something you have thought about for ages but thought it was too difficult?

I have to admit that I’ve enjoyed tremendously watching trainer and friend, Christy Scott, transition from bad ass endurance athlete to rookie physique competitor.  (You can follow her progress here.)  It has actually put to rest a lot of the reservations I’ve had about stepping on stage and has made me (finally) commit to doing a competition myself in 2016.

While competing will temporarily change some of the moderation and balance approaches I take, there is no way I’m walking into this w/ an overhaul approach.  This short vlog tells you some changes I’m making in September so that I feel like I’m transitioning into competition mode vs. slapped in the face w/ changes.



TRY THIS to break your front squat plateau

#SweatStrongChallenge month one is almost in the books and soon it will be time to award some prizes to those who are posting to FB along w/ building their strength.

Not suprisingly, we have all made great strides in month 1 but prepare yourself mentally for the work ahead in month 2.  Your gains will come slower and will be harder fought so I want to show you how I’m handling my front squat plateau so that I get stronger, keep depth, and NOT RISK injury!!!


  •  Lateral movements on non heavy lift days.

    If you come to Sweat regularly you have probably  noticed more skaters, plank jacks, side lunges, new jacks, cross over lunges etc.  programmed into our classes where we do not go as heavy.  This is purposeful and in an effort to ensure that the ligaments, tendons, and muscles that surround your knees and hips can keep up with the extra load.  Balance is CRITICAL if you want to stay off the operating table!!!!

  • Spend extra time under tension at your old benchmark.

    In order to make a new benchmark feel old you need to allow the muscles to become accustomed to that load.  In addition you need to work through the angles at which you feel the biggest struggle.

    We’ve practiced two techniques this month at Sweat in order to do that (5 x 5 or 5, 4, 3, 2, 1) but as the second month approaches and heavy takes on a new meaning here’s a technique I’m incorporating for myself this month.  I hope you can make it to our open gym Thursday night or Saturday morning and try this out with us.

a.  Warm up- about 10 minutes- slowly increasing weight to the new benchmark.

b.  New Benchmark- 1 rep (deep and controlled)

c.  Scale back to “old” benchmark- 5 reps, rest, 4 reps, rest, 3 reps, rest, 2 reps, rest

d.  Increase back up to new benchmark 1 rep (deep and controlled)

e.  Turn your front squat into back squat using your the new benchmark weight and do 5 for 5.

All in all this will take you about 30-60 minutes to complete but it will be worth it.  While the back squat is definitely different than a front squat, changing your squat will allow you to keep your muscles under tension using the new benchmark weight and allow you to safely adapt to the workload.

***As the new benchmark begins to feel more at reach I will increase (b) and (d) until eventually hitting my goal.

Keep those pictures and posts coming weather they are hits or misses.  It’s all part of the process!!  





DUMP the diet!!

It’s happened again…that meeting where our supposed “missing link” is about outlining specific, super strict, food rules that will shred weight off people in weeks and send our memberships through the roof.  Sexy diets sell.


Hey fitness industry…meet the new standard…Sweat Fitness Studio in Huntsville, where research is read and studied on the regular, where science not money dictates how we train and what nutritional recommendations we provide.


“But most of these diets are not sustainable for the long haul. They prescribe either an unrealistically low daily calorie level, the elimination of major food groups, or specific food combinations, all of which may be impractical for longterm, day-to-day living. Thus, within one to five years, all of the weight is regained, and then some. In fact, science supports this phenomenon, with studies indicating that not only are weight loss interventions rarely effective in the long term, but that dieting is a consistently strong predictor of future weight gain.” Cristen Harris, PhD, RDN, CSSD, CD, CES, FAND


It boils down to ETHICS!  It’s a DANGEROUS disservice to not acknowledge the metabolic diversity that exists in humans, to not promote self respect for all body shapes and sizes, to put weight loss over physical and mental wellness, and to promote over-training or discourage recovery in pursuit of revenue.

We will have no part of that at Sweat…insert good vs. evil super hero group photo here 🙂


So I stepped on the scale…

So I stepped on the scale to prove a point to a friend and not surprisingly the scale provided zero validation of my progress the last couple of months and even the last couple of years.

My weight midday was 129.2 which is a weight I’ve seen often in the past few years.  It’s nothing new.


What was new was the fact that the pants I’m wearing in the pic above, I couldn’t bring over my thighs last summer at a weight between 128-134.

At the beginning of this summer I could put them on, fasten them, but they were far from comfortable.  My last weigh in this year was 130 sometime in February.

Yesterday, I grabbed them, put them on, and wore them all day comfortably.

No change in weight but my body composition is different.  My body is smaller and more importantly DENSER w/ muscle packed on.

Top 4 fat loss behaviors

1.  Fat loss IS a SKILL SET not a number!!!!

10 years ago my journey began by asking myself the question, “What am I doing now, that I wasn’t doing when I was happier w/ my body?”  Wine was my answer then.  Two years ago…my answer: BINGE EATING.

I eat the right things and exercise is obviously a priority in my life.  What was killing my results was white knuckling my way through hunger so that I could eat the perfect meal.  Except perfection isn’t reality so I’d go home, famished, only to overeat.  At my peak this was probably happening 3 times a week at about 500-1000 calories/binge.  No wonder results weren’t visible!

When I committed myself to eliminating an unhealthy behavior, binge eating, vs “achieving” a previous scale weight, I no longer relied on the scale for feedback.  I stopped worrying so much about the perfect foods at the perfect times and in the perfect portions and focused on how I felt.  If I overate one day I had to analyze what went wrong in order not to have a repeat episode.  What the scale said was completely irrelevant.


If achieved goals are set of well executed skills, isn’t it reasonable to accept that we will encounter failure along the way?  Isn’t it true then that we should expect to fail more often at the beginning when these sets of skills have had the least amount of practice?  Isn’t it true that we need time to fine tune and perfect our skills?  WE NEED TO GIVE OURSELVES TIME TO PRACTICE SKILLS!!!!

Did it turn you off at the beginning of the blog that I said “two years ago” I began to focus on eliminating binges from my weekly routine?  I know two years sounds like an eternity in this business where 21, 24, and 30 day diet plans are the norm.  I think of all these best sellers as “jump starts” like we did in April.  They motivate us and get us some quick, inspiring results, but if you are in it for the long haul (and aren’t we all?) you then have to do the really hard part, discovering how some of these behaviors can become habits.


I have failed countless amounts of times these past two years and can also report waves of strong and low motivation to achieve my goal.  Natural, right?

Without a doubt this photo shoot renewed my interest in my goal and I think my fast loss this go around has a lot to do with the fact that I’ve put in the time, practiced, and now execution feels almost (and I do emphasize the almost) easy.  I am much quicker to have a bite or two of a “cheat” during the day if I know in the long run it will prevent a binge.  I am much quicker to add carbs to my meals because I know if I eat them in moderation throughout the day, I will not overeat later.  It’s become second nature to ask myself the questions below if I feel hints of cravings entering my system.

*  Were my workouts more intense this week?

*  Am I waiting too long to eat between a meal or several meals?

*  Am I sleep deprived?

*  What am I doing for recovery?

*  Did I drink enough water?

*  Did I try to eat a “perfect” meal or did I prioritize feeling satisfied?

I have failed enough at all of the above to know that if things get ugly, one of those behaviors is likely the culprit.  As cheesy as it sounds, failures truly are learning opportunities.


The magic meal plan doesn’t exist.  STOP ASKING FOR IT!  High protein, lots of veggies and fruits, unprocessed carbohydrates, plant and animals fats, and water are the basics.  No one understands your workouts, your family demands, your work schedule, your likes and dislikes better than you.

As Sweat grows, the pressure to subscribe to a certain way of eating gets bigger and bigger but, just like with our workouts, we follow science not the trend.

Fat loss is a complicated balance between hormones, calories, and psychology.  You HAVE TO put yourself in the driver’s seat because no expert has the map to your unique metabolic formula.


I know that the mentality to put down the scale is not a new one, but it’s still a very difficult thing to embrace.  We can eat right for 3 weeks and feel defeated b/c the scale went up 3 lbs.  We can eat crap for 3 weeks and feel like a million bucks because the scale reflected a “good” weight.  We hinge our day’s happiness and our body image on a piece of equipment that can be manipulated by salt, barometric pressure, unlevel flooring, hormonal fluctations…etc.  It’s unreliable.

1.  Measure your success by how consistently you can repeat a fat loss behavior!

2.  What habit has creeped it’s way into your routine that is unhealthy and hindering results?

3.  Taking into account your home and work demands, what skill(s) are you willing to commit to right now?

4.  Get ready to practice, fail, and tweak!