Archive for August, 2012

Go the Extra Mile for Your Joints

Dyess AFB TX Running Program

Have you ever complained about your aches and pains only to have your spouse, friend, or doctor tell you that it’s just a sign that you’re getting older?  Don’t you just hate that?  I’d rather believe in the philosophy of my favorite action hero, Indiana Jones: In one of many scenes having been chased, beaten and battered, Indiana Jones hurt all over.  In an attempt to help, Marion noted, “You’re not the man I knew ten years ago.” Rolling his eye, Indiana replied, “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage!” Raiders of the Lost Ark (Source: Paramount)

How to Swim the Combat Swimmer Stroke

Combat Swimmer Stroke

When people first try the combat swimmer stroke, a fancy nickname for what is really a modified side stroke, they can often look silly.  Even swimmers have issues with this stroke.  Athletes and non-​​athletes both share a few weeks of difficulty getting the timing down of this common stroke used by Special Operations communities.  The first video is a three part breakdown so you can learn how to do the stroke correctly.

Three Part BreakDown of the CSS:  This young man swims the CSS in 7  minutes flat.  Watch and Learn.

Here is a series of students who did not know how to swim very well in the first place, yet alone the Combat Swimmer Stroke.  See what they are doing incorrectly and try to avoid some of these common errors.

Fiber Fanatic


Did you ever see the movie Cast Away? Tom Hanks played a FedEx exec stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash.  It’s one of my favorite movies as it speaks to survival at its most basic elements:  water, food, & shelter.  It also tackles the emotional elements of survival: overcoming fear and finding companionship.  After four long years, a plastic port-​​a-​​potty wall washes up on shore and despair turns to hope as our castaway envisions crafting a raft to sail himself off the island.  He calculates the lengths of rope needed for strapping, exclaiming “We’re going to be short.  We’re gonna need more rope.”

The Hall of Honors: A Premier Martial Arts Event in Florida!

  • August 26, 2012
  • Self Defense
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Do not miss this unique and affordable training opportunity in Miramar Beach, Florida on September 21–22, 2012!

Well, those of you located in or around the Great State of Florida have a valuable opportunity approaching. Emerald Coast Martial Arts and Shinja Martial Arts University are sponsoring the Second Annual Hall of Honors Martial Arts Conference and Seminar!

Tone Your Core, Expand Your Soul

SUP Yoga

SUP Yoga is like Nothing Else!

You might have heard or seen Stand Up Paddle-​​boarding, the workout that looks like a combination of surfing and kayaking on the water. You might have tried yoga in all different forms. Combining them makes for an amazing workout, and an unforgettable experience.

I got to try SUP Yoga with Paddle Diva on Long Island’s eastern shores. After paddling, turning, and exhausting the arms and the core for 30 minutes (and getting some sun by the way), we set up our anchors in about 15 feet deep water. The yoga part that came next was the most interesting, fun and exhilarating workout I have ever had.

Pump Up with Protein

Gunnery Sgt. Philip Ricardo, an intelligence Marine with SOUTHCOM J2

“We are here to Pump…You Up!”  So said Hanz & Franz in their iconic skit on SNL.  Ok, so maybe the duo isn’t the best representation for pumping iron, sculpting muscle and getting ripped. When it comes to protein, past pump-​​ology has been that more is better and a pantry full of gigantic tubs of whey power are the secret to “perfect pumpitude!”  So, “hear me now and believe me later,”  there’s way more to protein than just whey…protein and more reasons to strength train than to avoid being called a “girly man!”  Ok, are you as ready to get out of the ’80’s as I am?

Pullups and Pushups (How to Start?)


Here is a common question that has multiple answers and methods to reach the ability to do pullups and pushups.  You have to start somewhere.  Check out the request:

Dear Mr. Smith: I have begun to follow your 90 day wkout. I am a young woman in my 20’s, and I am in EMT/​Paramedic school, and I have never been able to do a real push up. Do you have any pointers on how I would be able to progress to accomplishing this goal? Also do you have any pointers on doing pullups? Any help would be a godsend and greatly appreciated.

Yes — there are many ways to build up your strength to do pullups and pushups and to be honest the common denominator between men and women who can do these exercises is that they practice pullups and pushups.  But how to you get to the level where you can actually practice these calisthenics?

Breaking in Combat Boots for Running /​ Rucking

Breaking in Combat Boots for Ruck

When you buy or get issued a pair of boots you have to break them in before you run /​ ruck for miles in them.  Over the years I have tried many methods.  Military​.com veteran community —  share some of your methods as there is more than one way to get your boots ready for action.

Here is one method that worked for me for at least ten pairs of combat boots.

Get them soaked and walk in them for a day. Soak your feet and boots in some form of water (ocean, lake, river, bathtub, even shower with them).  Just get them soaked.  Then take them off after about 30 minutes of walking in them and replace your wet socks with dry socks so your feet do not get too soft and start to fall apart.

Unusual “Dual Position” Biceps Exercise

Bicep Workouts

When people ask you “How much can you bench?”, you know you can fudge the number a bit.

But when you’re asked to flex your pipes, those biceps don’t lie.

They’re either big…or they’re not!

Few people know that to really get the bi’s growing, you have to train them effectively and that means hitting them with “dual position” targeting – meaning from both the “stretch” and “contracted” positions – so you can really target all of the biceps’ muscle fibers.

Here’s an unusual biceps exercise you can add to your mass-​​building program that will help you do just that…

General Patton…On Street Fighting!

General George Patton once said…

“The object of war is not to die for your country, but to make the other bastard die for his.”

While this battlefield mantra has been a driving force in our military mind-​​set, applied to the reality of how to win a real street fight, these words ring just as true.

I’ve seen countless street fights where the person “losing” the battle just gives up…basically curling up into a ball and waiting for the kicks and punches to stop.

Sometimes they do…and sometimes they don’t.

Forever Young

Forever Young

Ah, youth, it’s both coveted and fleeting at the same time. Mark Twain felt that “life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18.” I guess I prefer Rod Stewart’s more optimistic view on life and aging, “May the good lord be with you down every road you roam. And may sunshine and happiness surround you when you’re far from home.…be courageous and be brave and in my heart you’ll always stay Forever young.” Either way, we have a decision to make, we can age gracefully or we can age foolishly.

Scientists estimate a maximum lifespan of 125–135 years while life expectancy is about 77 years according to insurance statistics. Believe it or not, the most influential factors in aging are not genetic, they are environmental and behavioral. So, do we have a fighting chance to age really really well? Absolutely!

Help! I Need to Lose Weight to Join Military

Losing Weight to Join Military

Here is an email that I have received about 50–60% of the time over the past five years.

“Stew, I am trying to join the military but the recruiter says I need to lose 25lbs in order to meet the height weight standards for the Army.  Needless to say, I am not in that good of shape either.  What do I do — where do I start?”

Yes, it is true.  Unfortunately, it is not lack of a high school diploma, disqualifying medical issues, or having criminal record that are the number one reason why our young men and women cannot join the military (any branch).  It is failing to meet the height, weight and body fat standards.

Balance Training — A Secret of Elite Athletes and Trainers

Balance Training

One of the characteristics that set elite athletes, trainers and physical rehabilitation professionals apart from the crowd is their willingness and ability to apply training methods that are integrative, at times unorthodox and extremely effective. One of these methods is regularly incorporating balance training into their training or rehabilitation regimen.

What Is Balance Training?

Balance training is a type of exercise that applies the scientific principles of Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation or PNF. Medical research of PNF training methods dates back to the 1940’s. Over the past 6 decades the scientific research has confirmed time and time again that Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation is effective at increasing strength, injury prevention, fast reflex muscle contraction, balance, and overall improved performance.

Frequently Asked Fitness Questions

Fitness FAQs

Ever wondered whether you can have a cheat day?

Want to know why you’re are not losing more weight even though you work out hard?

Wondering how to get past a plateau?

I answered these questions and more recently on Fox & Friends First (Fox News Channel 5-​​6am). Check out the quick video interview with my answers and advice.

Fitness, fit it in!

Working the Night Shift — Fitting in Fitness /​ Nutrition /​ Sleep

Military Nightshift

This week’s email request is from a gentleman who is working the night shift and he is preparing to join the military.  As his sleep schedule has changed so has his energy levels and desire to workout.  See request for help:

Stew,  HELP!  I am now working the night shift and need some help with when to exercise and when to eat from my normal routine.  I see my waist growing each week.  I have about six months before I join the military.

Here is a great group discussion for the Military​.com reader population who have some experience with working nights either in the military or as civilians.  My experience working nights during training was extensive but it helped by continuing to exercise, eat right, and sleep.  Here are some tips you MUST DO to help you not only stay awake during the night shift but to have energy to work, exercise, and live half a normal life on your time off.

Q&A About Special Ops /​ SEALs for High School Project

Navy Seals

I thought I would follow up last week’s blog post with a Q and A session that was inspired by a squared away high school student doing a project on Special Ops professions.

I received a letter in the mail from a high school junior who was doing an English project on Navy SEALs and Special Operations.  What I appreciate from the young man who sent me the typed letter through “snail mail” was the perfect use of English.  Usually, I receive these requests for information in text language often a paragraph of 15–20 lines with NO punctuation, NO capitalized letters, and littered with misspellings.  Many (not all) requests are just a mess of words like last week’s email.  Since this young man, took the effort and cared enough to actually write, I am going all out to answer his questions as thoroughly as possible.

So Whatʼs with the Magic Beans?

Soy Beans

Did you ever read Jack and the Beanstalk as a kid? Remember when he traded his cow for a handful of “magic beans?” We all may recall the message of courage and bravery as Jack climbs the beanstalk, finds golden treasures, defeats the giant and becomes the town hero living happily ever after. I like to think that Jack was really onto something trading cowʼs milk for something much richer in protein and nutrients in those magic beans. Am I stretching the fable a bit? Maybe so, but indulge me if you will in a little creative interpretation!

Fruits and Veggies: How to Get More for Less

  • August 1, 2012
  • Air Force Fitness
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Do you feel that buying and/​or consuming fruits and vegetables on a regular basis is a challenge for you?  If so, why? As a dietitian, I often hear from clients that they know they should be eating more produce, but it becomes problematic for a number of reasons. 

Here are some of those reasons:

  • the cost of fresh produce is too high when living on a budget
  • fruits and vegetables often go bad before they are consumed
  • consumers are unsure of where and how to shop wisely
  • some people just aren’t sure how to prepare vegetables in a tasty and healthy manner

The Bane Workout

Dark Knight

Tom Hardy’s Bane character, in the new Batman movie, has been making headlines not just for his role, but for his muscles.  Hardy stacked 30 pounds of muscle in 4 months for his role as Bane. He has yet to release his workout routine, but I have a good guess that it included what I call the D-​​C-​​N of fitness.

The upcoming release of my StrengthStack 52 incorporates an important component of the D-​​C-​​N, so let’s briefly discuss what I believe the Bane workout routine consisted of.

D-​​C-​​N stands for Diversity –Consistency and –Nutrition, without all of these 3 components, it is impossible to pack on 30 pounds of muscle in 4 months.