The Kettlebell Swing: Hard Style

We’re going to dive into one of my favorite exercises and an exercise with amazing carryover into many many many human movements and exercises… The Kettlebell Swing, the Russian army knife of exercise. When it comes to the kettlebell swing it is the best exercise for almost everyone- beginners to elite athletes, youngsters to the elders.

“ Kettlebell high-rep ballistic are the closest you can get to fighting without throwing a punch”. – A federal counterterrorist operator

“ The hip hinge is the most powerful movement a human can do. It’s the apex movement of an apex hunter”. – Dan John

A swing is not a squat, read that again. A SWING IS NOT A SQUAT. The kettlebell swing in a hip hinge dominant movement, such as the deadlift, clean, and snatch. The difference is the effences on the degree of flexion/bend in the knees compared to the hips

When properly doing a kettlebell swing you are fully engaged  from the top of your head through the toes in your feet. Not only is it physically tasking but the mental fortitude it takes to accomplish multiple sets of clean reps is outstanding. It really is a game changer to boost power, strength, endurance and coordination for any workout program and any goal.

Now being that it is a posterior chain/ hip powered movement at the beginning you are going to feel a lot of hamstrings and a lot of glute work. But as you break it down and practice more you will notice more and more muscles activating and engaging as you get stronger and more powerful swings. Here’s the break down,

  • Toes grip the floor, weight evenly spread through the foot.
  • Hamstrings coiled and engaged ready to explode.
  • Glutes stretched, generating force through your hinge.
  • Hips rotating out/ screwing into the floor to build tension thru the feet, knees and hips
  • Spine is neutral, held strong.
  • Core is braced, holding the ribs down and locking in the torso.
  • Lats locked down engaging the back and keeping shoulder blades packed.
  • Shoulder externally rotated to open chest and to help with shoulder down/packed.
  • Arms are actively holding the bell, soft grip to allow the bell to maneuver in your hand. 
  • Neck is long, head pulled back, ears over the shoulder to maintain a tall and long posture.

With reading all that, you can see how much of the body is working in tandem with just this one simple move. Don’t forget the increased heart rate from working this powerful explosive technique. 

Time for your homework!

 Before you start every workout you do for the rest of your life do five(5) sets x ten(10) reps of the hardstyle kettlebell swing. I promise you will only see positive progress when done properly. 

References:     7+ Years of coaching and cueing proper movement mechanics and exercise.

Kettlebell Athletics Certification- Jason C. Brown

        Simple & Sinister- Pavel Tsatsouline

Staying on Track by Tracking Your Nutrition: Part 3

Macronutrient Calculators Alright, so we have a way to track our movement and calories burned and a way to track what we eat, but how do we figure out how much or how little we should be eating? How do I find out my calories and my macros? That is what today’s blog will discuss, Macronutrient Calculators. This one gets tricky, there are so many different calculations out there, each based on different equations, based on many more targeted markets. So you have to do some digging! Lucky for you I have already done that for you. Here are 3 of my favorite Calorie/Macro Calculators that I trust I find to be consistent with any goal and person. Whether you’re Sussie trying to lose 10lbs or Jack trying to gain 10lbs while maintaining a lean physique. Keep in mind, that these are general estimates created based on the information you provide. To truly know you will have to test things out by. Try out the estimate for a couple weeks and if you don’t see the desired results try to lower or increase the calories. (All links are attached to each one, so click and check each one out).   Now that we have it all said and done let’s get to work on it. The biggest thing to remember and to keep in mind is that consistency is key! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were you. It will take time, dedication, plenty of mistakes and then only then we achieve our goals!   With any questions or support please contact anytime at [email protected].

Staying on Track by Tracking Your Nutrition: Part 2

Calorie & Macro Counter Apps

So we have our fitness tracker and it’s been counting how many calories we burn or at least an estimate of what we are burning on average daily. So, let’s take the next step in Tracking.

Calorie & macronutrient counters, over the years these have become highly recommended and highly used by professionals and fitness/ health enthusiasts across the globe. There are hundreds of different apps, websites and even books to help you count and estimate how many calories and macros you are consuming. Today’s blog is going to go over some of my favorites and the most used apps to help you choose your favorite one. 

  • MyFitnessPal-( I use this one the most. It’s been around for a long time so a lot of foods are already saved in it’s database). It has a free version which is really all you need to see great success in your goals. Especially once you start to understand what macros are in what foods. Also have a subscription membership to unlock more features which may be useful for the beginner 
  • FatSecret-( Very similar to MFP. Just a different layout. Still a huge food database. It’ll just depend on what one you find is easier to use). I personally started with FatSecret and enjoyed the layout and data collected more. At the time it wasn’t as widely used so it was more challenging to find some “uncommon” foods. Their free version is great, but you can unlock more features for a low subscription.
  • EatThisMuch-( this is a new one I was introduced to) But it’s awesome! Unfortunately to get the full benefits of the app there is a subscription. But this one goes deep. It actually creates daily meal plans and recipes based on your goals and even creates your shopping list. Not only that but it tracks everything for you as long as you follow the recipes, so no double weighing or measuring your meals. Totally worth every penny, especially for the type A’s who want to know everything in advance.
  • Carbon(Haven’t tried, just researched). Carbon brings you technology and that 1:1 feeling of benign guided and coached into one app. This does have a subscription but I highly recommend it to everyone beginner-advanced. Created by Layne Norton(PhD Nutritional Science as well as a decorated trainer and athlete) and his Team of highly qualified Coaches this app does everything you would want and expect it to to keep you on track with all your goals.

For all the apps listed above I personally recommend you research and try them out. Find the one that is going to be the best fit for you and that you can stay consistent with. When it comes to weight loss or  muscle gain the biggest key is to stay consistent even on the days you don’t want to. I put links in for each one, and the app Icon is in the blog picture above. Enjoy and happy Tracking!

Staying on Track by Tracking Your Nutrition – Part One: Fitness Trackers

Let’s talk about nutrition! One of the most controversial subjects in the worlds of health, fitness and wellness. Now, before we go one I want to clarify one thing. I am NOT a registered dietitian . I AM a certified sports nutrition specialist and a Precision Nutrition certified coach with 6+ years of coaching and experience under my belt. 

Now that’s that out of the way, let’s dig in! We have losing weight and gaining weight. These two have very important rules set into place for them based on the Laws of Thermodynamics.

  1. Weight Loss- to lose weight one must burn more calories/energy then one consumes. It simple terms, you must be in a calorie deficit to lose weight.
  2. Gain Weight- to gain weight one must consume more energy/calories then one is burning/using. Simply put, a calorie surplus. 

There are definitely more variables that can play a role in either of these two goals but for now let’s just stick to the basics. 

How can I track?

Now the fun part everyone dreads, TRACKING! But let’s be honest with all the apps and tools out there now it’s not as challenging as you may think. I am going to give you some tools to jump start your nutrition game!

  1. Fitness trackers, something to measure the amount of movement and activity you do in a day. Steps, calories, workouts, sleep, recovery. Depending on which direction you take they can get really detailed. Here’s a list of some reliable ones.
  • Whoop Strap 3.0(My personal favorite)
  • Fitbit( Literally any of them, I prefer simple is better).
  • AppleWatch( It does a lot more than just fitness tracking so it’s technology is spread thinner for that exact use, but it does the job and is improving all the time).
  • Body-bug( nothing beats the classics and body bugs are still one of the best for heart rate measurements).

How do I use a fitness tracker to track my nutrition? You ask. Well, I’ll tell you how I use it personally. As stated above I use the Whoop Strap 3.0, I wear it all day long even when I sleep. Whoop monitors and tracks my heart rate, HRV, sleep data, and for this topic it tracks my active calories burned for the day. I use my weekly average of calories burned calculated by my Whoop to adjust my weekly calories I consume. 

Example: On average I burn 3200 kcals a day= 22,400 kcals a week. 

If I want to-

  1. Lose Weight- I will need to eat around 150-300 kcals less a day to notice significant weight loss.
  2. Maintain- I will need to eat on average the same amount of kcals I burn.
  3. Gain Weight- I will need to eat 100-200 kcals more to see weight gain.

So knowing how many calories my body uses is important to be able to adjust my intake in either direction depending on my goals.

If you are interested in learning more about the Whoop Strap 3.0 click the link below. Stay tuned for Part 2 coming out Tuesday, March 9th.

Get a free WHOOP strap and your first month free when you join with my link!

Blueberry Breakfast Bars

Time for another sweet treat! If you know me well, you know I’m a huge blueberry fan. Blueberry smoothies, blueberry pie, blueberry muffins and just handfuls of blueberries!!! So you know this is one of my favorite recipes to date. I hope you enjoy it too!

What you need to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, smash the blueberries using a fork. Combine with the maple syrup and arrowroot powder. Set aside.
  3. Add half the oats to a food processor or blender to create oat flour.
  4. Transfer to a mixing bowl and combine with the remaining rolled oats, banana, and water.
  5. Firmly press 3⁄4 of the oats mixture into a thin, even layer in the baking pan. Spread the blueberry mixture on top and then crumble the remaining oat mixture over the blueberries.


Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

What you need:

  • 2 cups (300g) blueberries
  • 1⁄4 cup (60ml) maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. arrowroot powder
  • 3 cups (250g) rolled oats
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 3 tbsp. water


Servings: 9
Calories: 159 kcal
Fat: 2g
Carbs: 33g
Protein: 4g

The Hinge & Why Most People Struggle with It

Let’s talk about the HINGE… and what I mean by that is one of the basic human movements, the hip hinge or bending at the waist. 

 

We are going to hit 3 points.

  1. What is the hip hinge
  2. Why you should be able to do it(properly). 
  3. How to improve it

 

Let’s start from the beginning, what is a hip hinge? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like… It’s bending/ hinging at the waist. An example, you bend over to pick something up off the floor, or to pet your cute little fur baby who’s been waiting for you to come home from a long day of work at the office. Other examples pertaining to exercise would be a deadlift, good morning, cable pull through, kettlebell swing, glute bridge/hip thrust; All hip hinge dominant exercises. To get fancy a hip hinge is a sagittal plane movement where the hips are the axis of rotation between a neutral lumbopelvic segment and a femur. But who wants to dive into all that?

 

Now that we know what a hip hinge is, why should we care? Why should we worry about it in our exercise and in our daily movements? Well, not only does hip hinging exercises target a great amount of the muscles on the posterior chain(back side of the body) it also teaches us to move our hip joints properly(which should be a mobile joint) and to brace our core in a position which we tend to pick things up in. Being able to do this movement properly can help us prevent injury and even give us more resilience to outside factors, like helping your friend move, or picking up your kids out of their car seats. Without even realizing it you are doing some form of hip hinging throughout the day and not even realize it. So, let’s talk about how to improve it.

 

To improve our hip hinge means we can improve a lot of routine movements we do throughout everyday life. These movements done correctly will help us long term in preventing injury and even help reduce our feeling of fatigue since the body will be working more optimally throughout the day. For this exercise all you need in a long stick or broom handle to place down your spine as illustrated in the cover photo.

 

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly outward. 
  2. Place the dowel vertically on your back. Grasp one end with your right hand in the natural curve of your neck and the other end with your left hand in the small of your back. Make sure the dowel is touching the back of your head, your upper back, and the area where your low back meets your butt (sacrum). 
  3. Shift your weight to your heels and push your hips back towards the wall behind you while you hinge forward at the hips. To get a better idea of how to do this, think about sticking your butt out behind you. As you hinge, the dowel should not lose contact with those three points. If it does, you know you’re doing the move incorrectly.
  4. Lower your torso until it’s midway between vertical and parallel to the floor. Pause. Keep a slight bend in your knees during the downward and upward phase. 
  5. Reverse the movement by contracting your glutes and pushing your hips forward and upward to return to the starting position. 

For any further questions or if you’d like me to check out your hinge pattern, just send me a video to [email protected] or tag me on Instagram @TeamQuinnFit.

Why Most Group Fitness Relies on High Reps

One reason that most group fitness relies on high rep / cardio-slop type workouts is that people feel like they are working hard…because eventually if you do anything long enough or without enough rest, things feel hard.

The difference with strength training is that it should be hard/dificult almost immediately, and people are NOT often willing to work hard and push themselves.

They wait for hard to happen.

Instead of making hard happen immediately.

This gets exceptionally frustrating to deal with as people make emotional and immediate decisions about what they think is good. Because the immediate feeling of a workout that is strength based is not BEING CRUSHED and a sweaty mess…there is not a feeling of as much accomplishment.

The strength training approach will lead to more physique and physical capability changes over time.

And it requires that people increase their effort and intensity over time as they earn it.

Cardio HIIT stuff is always hard because people just try and work at a pace and level they cannot sustain. You might even argue that because of that they never actually recover so it just keeps getting harder and their gainz keep being a thing of dreams.

People just want to check the box of working out, not actually work hard. They want hard to happen to them, not put forth hard work.

I know I sound like a jerk face…but this is a decade of thousands of people I watch. I don’t think it’s bad. It’s not a judgey statement…but it is frustrating for sure. We want our clients to improve.

I understand apprehension to lift heavier weights, to really push hard and being cautious. But I also recognize a spade when I see one.

Use It or Lose It

Make movement & exercises FUN!

I love to move, bend, lunge, jump, leap, stretch, twist, turn and FLY.

So I train that way. How do you like to move? Does your exercise benefit it or does it hinder it?

Do you like to surf or Skateboard? Perhaps Skiing or maybe Wrestling? Dance and even playing basketball with the bros?

Do you want to continue doing these things till your dead?

Well, then your training should consist of movements/exercises to help keep you doing them.

The human body is an adaptation machine and will physically and mentally disconnect movement patterns we are no longer using. Just think when was the last time as an adult you climbed a tree or jumped off a small ramp? It’s been a while hasn’t it? Try doing them now? Do you feel more unsure are your slower, do you feel less stable when you land? That’s because are body is no longer adapted to these outside stimuli and are ability to perform or even react is slowed tremendously.

Over half the amount of injuries that happen in gyms each year are due to people coming in a thinking “I did this in high school/ college, I can do it now”. The problem with that is that they haven’t done it since then! Even just taking a year off from a sport, skill, or training can decrease our bodies capabilities to perform this once smooth skills drastically and lead to injury.

So, in conclusion if you want to be able to slam dunk, kick flip, or even just touch your toes you must consistently add these skills into your routine. For more specifics go ahead and email me to

Schedule a free 60-min discovery where I can support you in the right direction.

Iron Kettlebells & Steel Maces

The Steel Mace is for the upper body as the kettlebell is for the lower body.

If you think about the steel mace vs kettlebell, I like to pinpoint and distinguish their greatest movements and benefits.

Steel Mace Major Moves: 360’s, 10-2’s, offset presses, offset rows, etc.

Kettlebell Major Moves: Goblet Squats, Deadlifts, Swings, Turkish Get ups, etc.

Of course both modalities have many many more movements but these are the most common I see within the general fitness population.

If you look at the Kettlebell – the more common of the two; it’s a great tool to help people learn the proper way to hip hinge and squat. The movements require you to hold the weight isometrically, really giving you a chance to go heavy on the legs! Check out @cliftonharski ‘s recent “Goblet Squats” Video. Then incorporate the swing and you have a full on ballistic and power movement to increase athleticism in many sports.

With the mace’s off set load and long lever, the 360’s and 10-2’s make building shoulder strength and stability incomparable to anything else I’ve used! Getting that fluid motion of a heavy 360 swing(check out @mr.maceman) has never made my injured shoulder feel better. Add in the offset rows and press and it becomes great for correcting upper body imbalances and building “bulletproof” shoulders!

Both of these tools are amazing and I love to incorporate them into my traditional barbell and dumbbell training. It amazes me that ancient tools that are hundreds to thousands of years old have come around full circle and are being used to help and heal people!

How To Lose Fat

In this article you’ll read about how to lose fat and why cardio is not always the best solution!

When I first got into fitness as a professional, my understanding of fat loss was based on simple math. Calories in vs calories out. I learned through certification courses and through fitness magazines that if you wanted to lose weight all you had to do was eat less and move more. If someone wanted to lose weight I would just have them do a lot of cardio and tell them to eat less. It was SO SIMPLE!!! Or was it?

This formula was so simple and easy to follow yet people were getting fatter and fatter. “They just lose motivation” or “they lack discipline” were my thoughts. All I had to do to be a successful trainer was motivate and inspire and BOOM all my clients would succeed!! I soon learned this wasn’t exactly the case. Although I bought into these notions, I also had this nagging feeling that it wasn’t the right approach…

As a trainer I was very charismatic and motivating. People loved to train with me and I loved to train them. It seemed like the perfect recipe for success. The vast majority of my female clients in particular wanted to lose weight, so our workouts revolved around cardio. “Burn as many calories as possible” was my motto. In a few short months, my female clients would lose weight and everyone was happy!! “This will be an amazing career” I thought.

It was going great during my first 12 months of training, and then things started to fall apart. My clients would plateau HARD. I would up their workouts and their intensity and NOTHING would happen. Little by little they all increased workout time, frequency and intensity and they dropped their calories lower and lower until things would get ridiculous. I would have some female clients doing an hour of cardio type workouts 6 days a week and they would only eat 1200-1300 calories a day JUST TO MAINTAIN their physiques.

One day, one of these clients came to me and said “You know what, I can’t keep this up forever. If I take just the smallest break or if I eat the occasional higher calorie food, I gain body fat FAST. It’s not worth it.” This was a wake up call. I wasn’t helping these people at all. This is when I decided to dive deep into the science of fat loss and the human metabolism. I opened my mind and decided to throw all “common knowledge” out the window and, as a result, I had some paradigm-shattering, breakthrough moments. Once I applied this new understanding my clients responded in ways that were truly shocking. Below I am going to list some of these paradigm shattering knowledge bombs. Prepare yourself, because I am about to turn your understanding of fat loss upside down. At the end of this article I will give you a basic template for an exercise routine that’s vastly superior to any fat loss workout program you have tried.

Cardio Sucks For Fat Loss

Bear with me… I know it sounds crazy to say that cardio sucks for fat loss. Its true that cardiovascular activity burns more calories per time spent than any other form of exercise. It’s true that while you do cardio you burn more fat vs any other type of exercise. Those statements are true AND THEY ARE ALSO THE PROBLEM.

When you exercise or move you burn calories but you also send a SIGNAL to the body. The signal tells the body to ADAPT. This is because exercise stresses the body and they body is always trying to mitigate any stress by becoming more resilient or efficient to this stress so that next time the same exercise doesn’t cause the same stress. This is true for all of the adaptation processes of the body.

It’s literally no different than getting a sun tan from exposure to UV rays. When you go outside and you expose your bare skin to UV rays your body ADAPTS to those rays by increasing melanin production which darkens your skin. In other words the “signal” was damage from UV rays and the “adaptation” was to get darker so that these UV rays don’t cause the same amount of damage. Make sense?

Okay, so lets look at cardio and understand it from the same perspective. Cardio causes a LOT of calorie burn, which is a stress on the body. It’s a stress because your primitive body evolved from thousands of generations of people who lived during times of food scarcity. Burn too many calories and you may actually STARVE the body. Cardio the “signal” tells the body to “adapt” by becoming MORE EFFICIENT with calories. In other words you SLOW YOUR METABOLISM DOWN in a short period of time.

This isn’t just my theory either. Its been observed in athletes many times, by scientists and medical experts. An athlete will actually burn LESS calories as their bodies become “better” at doing cardio. This happens to you as well.

That’s not all though. Over time your body will burn less calories by reducing muscle mass (this is why endurance athletes carry such little muscle), it will change hormone profiles (this is why female endurance athletes stop menstruating) and it will change behaviors so that you move less when you don’t exercise. Basically you end up shooting yourself in the foot and in a situation that usually leads to burn out and fat gain. Except this time your metabolism is slower than before. Sound familiar? Happens ALL THE TIME,especially to women. Probably because women tend to be more afraid to do the one form of exercise that will truly SPEED UP THE METABOLISM… they don’t LIFT WEIGHTS.

Here is the first step to real, effective and long-term fat loss: LIFT SOME WEIGHTS

Now I don’t mean do cardio with weights like you would with circuit classes or for super high reps. Those modalities of exercise will send a similar signal to the body as regular cardio does.

What you need to do is lift weights to BUILD and to GET STRONGER. By doing so you are sending a signal to the body that says “strength and muscle are a priority” and since traditional weight training doesn’t burn a ton of calories during the process becoming “efficient” is an after thought. Lift weights PROPERLY and the result is a raging hot metabolism.

When I applied this new understanding to my clients the results were literally insane. Women who used to gain fat by eating over 1200 calories now could consume 1800-2000 calories and LOSE fat. Cardio was reduced to almost nothing as well.

This can work for you as well however there is one main caveat: all weight training exercise aren’t the same. Some are extremely effective while others are almost a waste of time. In other words…

It wasn’t that long ago that the fitness industry had a money problem. Gyms had no issue attracting men but women weren’t exactly showing up in droves. And why would they? Weights made people look like body builders and most women wanted NOTHING to do with looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Women also make up the majority of consumers in almost any market so if gyms wanted to make real money they had to figure out how to attract the female consumers. So they invented some new words and exercises that were “just for women”.

Raise your hand if you want to build tons of bulky muscle. I bet very few or none of you raised your hand. Now raise your hand if you want a really toned body. Ahh…there you all are. Guess what? Toning is a MADE UP WORD. The fitness industry made it up to get women to buy gym memberships. Muscles don’t tone. They either build (hypertrophy) or they shrink (atrophy). The “hard” feeling you get in your muscles is just a small degree of building.

Not only did the fitness gym industry make up the word “tone” they also made up new methods of resistance training, since the ways that most men lifted weights built muscle. In other words gyms said “use resistance this way and you don’t have to worry. You wont build big muscles, you will just tone.” This is crazy once you fully understand the following: building muscle is HARD. It’s hard for men and they have much more of the muscle building testosterone in their system than females do. For women it’s even harder. In fact, I dare you to try to build muscles like a body builder (without taking steroids) and watch what happens. You will just get really “TONED”.

The exercises that are the MOST effective for muscle building are the exercise you should do the most of. Forget all the “female” exercises like the bodyweight leg kickbacks or the short choppy high reps exercise classes. Instead do the most effective muscle building exercises known to man. Do barbell squats, deadlifts, bench presses, rows, lunges, curls and overhead triceps extensions. Also… use heavy weight. High reps DON’T build muscle very well at all.

Train like you want to build and you will send a powerful signal to your body which will result in a faster metabolism, a sculpted hard body and an ability to get away with the occasional high calorie food day.