Archive for the ‘Fitness Equipment’ Category
Having a good grip comes in handy not just shaking hands, but doing many tasks required of military and special ops personnel. Here is a recent email asking about improving grip for exercises that include rope climbs, pullups, and even dry firing with your non-dominant hand.
Stew, I am actually pretty good at pullups, but have found it tough to do multiple sets of higher reps not because I cannot do any more pullups, but because I cannot hang on the bar any longer. My forearms are on fire! I have the same issues when doing rope climbs and even some tactical skills. How can I get my forearms stronger?
This is an excellent question as there are many things you can do to supplement your workout to get a better grip. Your grip muscles are actually located in your forearm and your hand is mostly tendons attaching them with a few hand muscles involved as well. This is why when doing pullups, rope climbs, farmer walks, and other tasks you feel your hands getting tired as well as your forearms. The good news is that grip and forearm strength / endurance / muscle stamina can be added fairly quickly with a 5–10 minute circuit following normal workouts for upper body. In a few weeks, you will notice a difference if you do the following circuit 2–3 times a week. In a few months, you will have that “old man grip strength” that can hold onto anything for long periods of time too.
As summer winds down, I’m noticing an interesting trend that has developed over the past few months — my pension for all things water-related. From swimming to kayaking to paddle boarding, I’ve been on a mission to stay on or in the water as much as possible. I now officially have the SUP (stand up paddle board) addiction! Put me on the water with a paddle in my hand and I’m content for hours. If you haven’t checked it out, SUP-ing is an awesome full body workout engaging your core for balance, increasing flexibility, upper & lower body strength and decreasing stress…seriously, is there anything more calming than dipping your paddle into a clear, tranquil lake or the invigorating rush of catching the surf? My newly discovered passion has made me even more aware of how to tweak my nutrition to keep me on the water as long as possible this year.
Fall is around the corner, and while kids are going back to school, our barely-clothed beach jogging turns to bundled up runs, indoor gym classes and DVDs indoors again. My newest NikkiFItness Faves include tech gear that bends like a yogi, fitness clothes that look as good as they work, healthy fruit to keep summer sunshine in your veins, and tools to help everything from cracked, calloused feet to sore muscles.
For years, I have written about and discussed the fine line between training for Special Ops type programs and over-training. But until recently, I realized I forgot one very important piece of information:
TELL OTHERS AROUND YOU THE SYMPTOMS OF OVER-TRAINING.
Because, you will not notice it until it is too late (typically). Even though, over-training is actually hard to do by just training — it is easy to see symptoms pop up occasionally when your recovery balance is off: Not enough sleep, not eating or hydrating well, and too many crazy workouts in a week are just the things to push any training program into the over-reaching / over-training zone if not attended to.
This week is a combination workout that combines moderately heavy weights, cardio intervals, mixed with calisthenics. Following the non-impact/lift, you mix in a run / pt followed by a swim (or ruck for Army guys).
Also see links to previous 12 weeks of workouts of the week at the bottom of the page:
Former Marine Instructs Program That Aims to Move Number of Women in FDNY from Worst to Best in the Nation
While most New York Sports Club (NYSC) members are training to lose weight and look better, a group of brave women are hitting the gym with a bigger goal: to save lives and hopefully join the elite Fire Department of New York City (FDNY). NYSC is partnering with the United Women Firefighters Association by offering free training classes three times a week to women who are preparing their bodies for the FDNY Academy’s grueling physical exam.
I come from a family of patriots. We all support our Veterans, our military service men and women and our country regardless of the date on the calendar or the status of world events. My grandfather is part of the Greatest Generation as a WWII Veteran. My uncles are Veterans of the Vietnam War. I am a the spouse of a GWOT Veteran who served our country valiantly during a career that saw both peace and conflict. So, during a time when we celebrate our Nation’s birth, it seems fitting to also thank those who graciously and unselfishly support our troops, respect our flag, and serve our Veterans. This week, while we’re spending time with family and friends, I want to introduce you to a couple of patriots & patriotic organizations that have inspired me.
For many, the term “ruck” is a new word. Defining RUCK is difficult to someone who has never moved out with 50+ lbs in a backpack for many, many miles. The definition can be as simple as walking around with a backpack on a hike or as difficult as moving fast with all your military gear, loaded for bear, over rugged terrain, infiltrating to your objective. But the terms, ruck, hump, or forced march, all really mean getting your gear from A to B in a backpack. Here is a question, that prompted this discussion:
Stew, I am adding backpacking to my workouts — usually 20-25lbs. My buddy told me I was “rucking.” After a google search, I see that is what I am doing, but I really have no idea what kind of pace is a ruck. Is it a fast walk, slow jog, nice and easy walk so you can go all day? How should I incorporate it into my workouts?
“Stew — What was your best workout you did last week?” asks an Army ROTC cadet. “Anything new? Something classic? I would love to hear what you come up with in your Spec Ops Team sessions.”
Many readers have been asking to post some of my favorite workouts we come up with each week with my pre-Military / Spec Ops PT groups. Sounds like a plan. I will post my favorite workouts of the previous week here on Monday’s each week.
This workout will vary each week as I tend to pick favorites that are a combination of upper body / lower body weights / calisthenics, or swim or run PT mix, or mix it all together for a challenging full-body / cardio burnout day. So without over-talking it — here it is: “The Modified Murph with TRX and Kettlebells”
If you are into these type of workouts, you may have heard of the “Murph”? It is a workout in honor of Navy SEAL officer Michael Murphy (MOH recipient) used often as a “Memorial Day Murph” workout in the CrossFit world. It is actually a classic workout done my future Special Ops guys for decades.
I consider my sister-in-law, Dana, a real sister to me. She is kind, compassionate, fun, wonderfully opinionated and loves me unconditionally. I always welcome her advice and recommendations and she has never steered me wrongly. Last summer she said I must watch The Avengers movie. What a fun ride! It was cool to see so many of my favorite characters like Thor, Ironman, and the Hulk joining forces to fight evil. The only challenge was that I knew nothing about Captain America. Friday night, I finally watched the first Captain America movie and can’t wait to see the sequel that apparently was a blockbuster at this past weekend’s opener. What caught my attention was the desire this scrawny little guy had to serve his country and sacrifice for the greater good of mankind. Fortunately, you don’t have to look too far to find those willing to raise their shields to protect our country. From our incredible service men and women to every day difference-makers, we all have a little bit of Captain America in us.
Every now and then, I get motivated by a workout week that I created. This week I created a program that is centered around suspension training, but each day has a combination specialty that challenges you in a variety of ways. You need variety to your workouts, but make sure the workouts you select are still specifically developed so you will still reach your goals. Whether the goals are weight loss, military service, special ops preparation, or law enforcement, adding suspension training can enhance your overall workout experience. Below are some fun and challenging sample workouts recently tested by our group:
Do you want to know how the hundreds of muscle bound bodies covering the screen in the movie 300 Rise of an Empire got so unbelievably ripped? Well I did the research for you. Unfortunately the cast exercised for 3 hours a day under a very strict regime set forth by Gym Jones. However, by researching the program I was able to take the core components of the regimen and create a powerful workout that anyone with one hour a day, a bit of determination and a desire to pack on serious muscle could do in their own gym.
Everyone’s busy nowadays; we’re lucky if we can find time to cook a healthy dinner for ourselves. Having an alternate plan for getting a great workout is vitally important to staying in great shape. Our busy lives sometimes pull us away from the important things in life like healthy food and time in the gym.
I have assembled the top 5 portable fitness equipment to keep you healthy in 2014 (and beyond):
I often get emails from people young and old about getting prepared for military training, and also from veterans who want to be in the shape they used to be when they served in the military. Many are looking for veterans to help them get into “fighting shape”. Here is a list of many former military officers and enlisted who train civilians to not only lose weight and get healthy, but prepare for military training too. If you are a veteran in the fitness business, send me a paragraph and link of what you do and I will add to this page.
Military Fitness programs are popular. In fact, many former military personnel of all ranks and services are now getting into the fitness business — myself included. Check out the list of veteran-owned fitness businesses around the country:
Boot Camp Fitness, Inc. — Created by former Army sergeant, Jay Johnson of Dallas TX, who has become the Official Fitness Trainer of The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (Enough said! THAT is a success story in the fitness business!). He has been featured on many television shows and magazine publications for his creative workouts that yield great results.
British Commando Fitness — British Army Commando “Sol” Sollerer has retired from the British Army, married an American, and has started his own fitness business in the Annapolis MD area. Also working as an assistant boxing coach at the U.S. Naval Academy, Sol has planted roots in the US and helping active duty and future military candidates prepare for service. Still competitive as well, Sol assists with the Heroes of Tomorrow program in Severna Park, MD giving the students a taste of how nice a drill instructor will be when they join. He is also involved in high school / college team sport mental toughness and team building training.
Hostyle Conditioning - With the help and support of Curd Hos, Owner and Operator of the best training facility in Orleans, Ontario—Curd is helping CPT Smash take the youth strength coaching platform by storm, as well as developing ongoing programs for older adults to help increase the awesomeness within Ottawa, CA. The youth program engages kids as young as 9–13 years old in our bootcamp style training, that will help them move better, get stronger and enhance their overall level of conditioning far beyond what the other kids are able to achieve nowadays. The upper level athletes (15–20+) are slotted into semi-private training sessions to really focus on certain performance goals for their sports in order to make them super tough athletes that are unstoppable on the field, ice or track!
Extreme SEAL Experience - Former SEAL Don Shipley puts on a great training program complete with shooting, survival, mission planning training in the Chesapeake VA area. See his youtube channel for great footage of the training they put on for civilians and wanna-be’s.
The Health Colonel – Bob Weinstein, LtColonel, USAR, (ret.) can be found on the beaches of Fort Lauderdale, FL conducting early morning workouts with his students. Training many out of shape and overweight people per year, he also prepares young men and women for the physical demands of the military. If you are looking for a motivational/health speaker, The Health Colonel is your man. He motivated me by telling me that “the United States has enemy soldiers within its borders — they kill more than 3,000 people a day, their names are cancer, heart disease, and stroke.” I immediately responded, “yeah and over 20 million people are being held hostage by diabetes in America.”
NavySEALs.com, SEALFIT.com, UnbeatableMind - Mark Divine has evolved into a fitness / mental toughness powerhouse. His programs / store enable any fitness enthusiast, SpecWar candidate pick and choose what he needs to make himself better — mentally, physically, and more. For gear, books, ebooks, training, hellweek simulation, etc.
Owen Richardson — NeoLife: Owen is an active Navy Reserve IS1 and promotes the neolife club products for two reasons: “When I was deployed to Iraq in 09–10, I saw you guys (SPECOPS) everyday with tons of energy. Last year I was talking with Chris (SEAL Team 8) and he told me this was the same vitamins they took day after day. I started on it without promoting for 3 months, once I saw the benefits personally, I started telling everyone about it.” NeoLife has different products for different lifestyles, and at a reasonable price. A months supply of vitamins or weight loss shakes will run about $40
Platoon Fitness.com – The folks at Platoon Fitness located in Philadelphia PA and throughout Pennsylvania and New York City was founded by Todd Scott, a Navy veteran. They have been in business for over 10 years and have indoor and outdoor training facilities with over twenty fully certified trainers who train everyone from working men and women, stay at home Moms, and kids too. They also offer franchising opportunities and training for instructors.
The Sergeants Program – Patrick Avon opened one of the first military group training businesses in the U.S. Patrick is a former Navy enlisted man who has created a military fitness empire in the DC/Virginia area, catering mostly to overweight executives — he also gets several students per year who seek a career in the military. He has over 45 instructors in 35 locations, all certified with a nationally recognized program. He also has his own outdoor boot-camp certification program. Check out his site for his annual Jolly Fat Man’s run/party.
The SEAL PT Course – Jack Walston — former Navy SEAL in Houston TX and Central Park Manhattan NYC — has been doing SEAL PT for over a decade. He has weekly workout plans for locals as well as a SEAL Training/Special Forces mini-camp that will test you to your limits. This program actually mimics many of the events experienced in Hell Week at SEAL Training, including a 24 hour non-stop period of training.
SEALGrinderPT.com - Brad McLeod, born in Thomasville, GA, grew up in Tallahassee, FL. He is a former Navy SEAL and graduated from SEAL training in BUD/S class 132 against all odds. Despite having no athletic background and having life long asthma Brad climbed his personal Mount Everest and made it through BUD/S the second time and went through Hell Week twice.
Training Philosophy for Spec Ops: Our philosophy on workouts is to try to keep as many functional movements as possible that have carry over to your day to day sport or occupation. SEAL grinder PT is dedicated to working out and improving your mind and body to unleash the inner warrior in you. The grinder PT is a mixture of the same exercises that SEAL recruits perform on a daily basis at the BUD/S training camp in Coronado, California. We are also throwing in a few CrossFit style drills, some exercises from SEALFit, Mountain Athlete, Gym Jones and a few others you may not have seen before.
SWAT Personal Training – Ron Holland (former USAF) out of Tucson AZ, created an outdoor and indoor fitness business in 1991 after a career in the military and police department. He has a one week in-residence boot camp where they create a military indoctrination environment (0500am wakeup!) He has recruits run, PT, eat a well balanced and nutritious chow, and hike 2 –12 miles in the Tucson area desert. Also water skills, aerobics, yoga, stretching, and other anti-aging programs are taught in a teamwork/military style program. It is very informative and positive feedback and teamwork is highly encouraged.
SEAL Team PT – Former Navy SEAL John McGuire has translated his experience into a one-of-a-kind, non-military fitness program, offering the dual benefit of world-class fitness and team-building to people of all ages and walks of life. Offered in the Richmond, Virginia area since 1998, SEAL Team PT has legions of satisfied, fit, and fulfilled graduates of all ages. To date, SEAL Team PT has graduated over 175 basic fitness classes, conducted more than 50 custom-tailored corporate team-building programs, and led more than 40 SEAL Teen and SEAL Pup classes for youth and children.
StewSmith.com – My website/fitness business has evolved since 1998 when I resigned from the Navy. At first I had a fitness business with as many as 40–50 hours of group PT and personal training a week. Now, after writing everything down for years, I created programs that have helped thousands prepare for military, special forces, and law enforcement physical fitness tests. I still do some online training and local group training in the Baltimore/Annapolis MD area, but my group workouts during the week and weekend are free to those who want to join me on my swims, runs, PT etc. Once on month, we test with a variety of PFTs and we also do quarterly Spec Ops Triathlons — Run, Swim, Ruck. These workouts now give me ideas which to write as I see issues, troubles, and ways around personal obstacles with a variety of students. I figure if I am going to write about training — I need to train.
VO2MAXUSA.com — With 24 years of fitness programming experience, Kevin Hite of VO2MAX,LLC is uniquely qualified to serve his community’s preventive health care needs. A former US Navy search and rescue swimmer with a B.S. in Health and Wellness (The Citadel, 1990) and member of The American College of Sports Medicine, Kevin offers health risk appraisals, fitness assessments, personal training and 24/7 gym membership from his studio in Chapin, SC. 803.422.8584.
Products Invented by Vets — SEALS / SF Specifically:
The TRX - Fitness in a Bag! Former SEAL Randy Hetrick has created another device that is easy to carry and so versatile I still cannot name all the exercises you can do with this thing. My latest count is over 200 exercises. In an article, I compared his TRX to a Universal Weight Machine and for a 1/10 of the price it easy outperforms the machine tenfold! This is great for travelers as the straps are easy to pack and unfold in seconds. See some of the videos on his site.
The Perfect Pushup and Pullup - My former SEAL buddy Alden Mills has created awesome fitness products that capture the most beloved and most hated exercises we do in the SEAL Teams and at BUD/S. The rotational motion of his products challenge the best pull-up and pushup performers. In fact, his products cut my reps in half and after a few years of using the Perfect Pushup, they still work like new and continue to make my pushups tougher. Supplemented with some weights, the Perfect Pushup and Pull-up are great additions to a home weight room.
The Fit Deck - Former SEAL Phil Black is probably the real genius of the bunch to take an idea and turn it into a successful business. When on a deployment or just bored, the SEALs as well as other military groups, do a workout with a deck of cards. Usually it required some imagination: face cards = 10 pushups, aces = 25 pushups / 25 abs, jokers = 50 reps of anything…BUT what Fit Deck does for you is take out the mystery and when you shuffle the deck and start to flip the cards you get told what you need to do. Now he has Pull-up Decks, Kettlebell Decks, Navy SEAL Decks, Navy SEAL Audio Series on Acing BUDS, Combat Sports Decks and so many more — even some for kids.
Refactor Tactical - Army SF veterans create tactical gear that works. Designed by the operator for the operator. Check out the gear list and training videos. Anything from bags, caps, survival bands, medical gear, fun t-shirts and more — you can find it on their store and talk with other operators on their blog.
Any of these make great gifts for your fitness guru in the family or those seeking a profession that requires some form of fitness test.
After a brief discussion with the veteran trainers, we all agreed upon a few things. We focus on teaching on a basic level of fitness, habit building, and just adding basic fitness as stretching, walking/running, light PT, and drinking water to people’s lives. Let them see and feel the progress they are making. Take them as they advance and PT them harder, but you have to give them a plan that works.
The plan I have here works…it will help people lose up to 25lbs if they just following the simple directions:
1- Stretch Daily! This is very important if beginning a fitness plan. See Stretch article.
2 — Drink more water — up to a gallon a day
3 — Do something everyday for 45 days straight – even if that is just walk after dinner. This FREE 45 day plan shows you how.
4 — Repeat above — do not worry about food intake yet, but if no results are seen in 3–4 weeks then focus on a food plan as mentioned in plan above.
Look up one of the above veterans and try a boot camp workout program this year. If you know of another veteran operated fitness business that is not listed, please send the website address/contact information and I will place it in an updated article archive so I have close to a comprehensive list. Please email me atStew@stewsmith.com with your questions.
How to Workout Like an Olympic Champion - The Full Body Workout You Need to Start Doing NOW
The winter Olympic games are among us and as we see one chiseled athlete after another competing at what they do best it makes me want to reiterate to the fitness community what it really takes to have well defined muscles and slim waistline. I see one fitness blogger after another writing workout plans that tell you do hit the weights and do three sets of legs on one day, and three sets of another body part on another day. The truth is getting a chiseled body doesn’t come with spending 15 minutes working out one or two body parts a day in the gym. Aside from eating healthy, you need to stimulate all the muscles in your body 3 times a week. A full body workout is especially useful for you 8-5ers who sit in an office all day waiting for that time you get to go to the gym to release energy. Follow my 3 day full body workout routine below to ensure you hit all the right muscle groups in the right sequence.
The makers of the Insanity workout plan claim that it’s the wildest and most intense workout that anyone ever saw. Coming hot on the heels of the P90X program, it ushers in a new era of workouts. Men and women who previously thought they could only get the ripped abs and great arms they wanted in a gym can now tone up at home. Beachbody states that anyone can get in shape using the workout plan, but not everyone has the same experience.
The Insanity workout comes with ten discs. One of those discs is a fitness test that users take before using any of the workout plans. According to the manufacturer, this test lets users see how strong they are in different areas, and they can compare their strength and fitness to how they feel after using the program. Even those who do well on the fitness test might still have problems with the workout plans.
If you are an active duty member or veteran who remembers the good deals at the PX or Exchanges on base, take a look at a few websites that offer great deals to military members, veterans, and government employees as well. The websites cater to active duty as well as veterans who are looking for good deals on many of the brands you already use. You can get everything from flowers delivered to family members to tactical gear at below market prices. It really is like shopping at the base PX. Plus you can view reviews of products used by like minded people.
I do not want to make this a free commercial for both of these sites, but I have recently joined both and enjoy clicking through all the options available to me for just about anything I need from cool tactical pants and sunglasses to running shoes at big discounts usually 15–20% but some reach 50+%. It depends on what you are looking for, but it is a great way to buy fitness related gear!
So if you are looking for big deals online and you are military, a veteran or government service check these out:
Every year — it never fails — many engage to correct all of their wrong-doings, unhealthful habits, and other self-helping notions in the form of New Year RESOLUTIONS. “Resolution” is one of the most over-used words during the end of December and January each year, but by February it is gone usually along with our energy to better ourselves. So, I recommend instead of making a resolution, set four quarterly goals to help you reach where you want to be next year at this time. Take a look back at 365 days ago. Seems like yesterday right? Why not create a logical goal setting formula that will work for you with a little bit of effort and some good habit building skills? Where people fail with their resolutions is that they try to fix too much at one time. Stopping smoking, starting an exercise program, eating healthy foods in an effort to lose weight can be too much to take on all at once. Try another approach to success.
When I was 19, I could eat whatever I wanted and not worry about the intake of calories. Fast-forward a couple decades and those “glory days” are long over. However, losing weight isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Even common household items you have in your house right now can help you burn calories and lose weight without ever hearing the dreaded word “diet”. Below are a few of my favorite household items that can help you consume less calories.