Making Progression Through Strength

Tag: Fitness

Scapular Mechanics: Lesson 2

Scapular Mechanics: Lesson 2

The last lesson on scapular mechanics was via a Facebook Live video where I discussed scapular mechanics during a horizontal rowing pattern. Here is a great example of both vertical AND horizontal rowing with the plate loaded high-row machine. This is by far one of […]

Two Years of Eating “Too Much Protein”

Two Years of Eating “Too Much Protein”

Being a two-year study subject has its perks. Things like free blood work, free body composition analysis via the Bod Pod & DEXA, and free protein supplements are just a few of those perks! Big thanks to Dr. Jose Antonio, Co-Founder and CEO of the International Society of […]

Locating Integrity in the Fitness & Nutrition Industry

Locating Integrity in the Fitness & Nutrition Industry

In a multi-billion dollar industry with growth on the rise year after year, it seems like everyone wants to get in on all of the potential profits to be made even if it is at the expense of others. From know-it-all trainers that are getting clients injured due to negligence to self-proclaimed nutrition experts selling you supplements that don’t work and may actually be doing more harm to you than good.

There is a lack of integrity in this industry that gives credible professionals a bad name. Here are some signs you should be aware of when dealing with these individuals…

On the Fitness Side…

All too often I hear of horror stories that others have had going to unqualified trainers and coaches. A lot of times these stories involve injuries, unpleasant experiences, and a lack of personal touch to the training experience. People buy trainers, not training. They are in it for the results AND the experience.

When trainers and coaches neglect fundamental concepts such as exercise frequency, volume, intensity, and duration of exercise then it leaves the client exposed to an increased probability of exercise-related injury (1). For example, you’re likely thinking about CrossFit. Truth is that there a lot of GREAT CrossFit coaches that have done their due diligence in studying the fundamentals of exercise prescription and biomechanics. Clients can get injured by negligent trainers anywhere, any time.

As a client, how do you know the person(s) you’re about to hire is well-qualified? I would suggest interviewing that trainer on their education, credentials, years of experience, and what he/she does to continue their education in the field (This is actually funny because I can count on one hand how many people have asked me about my credentials and education since I started training in 2011). Previous client testimonies can sometimes serve as a professional reference on a résumé with proof of the trainer’s work…provided that they are real.

As a trainer, ALWAYS COVER YOUR ASS! Most personal training certifying organizations offer discounts to Professional (malpractice) and General Liability coverage (simple mistakes). Get Insured! Unless you have millions of dollars laying around, get coverage!

It definitely helps if the trainer has a website, has established a social media presence, offers online training, and has YouTube videos (I’m a shill! What can I say?) Long story short, know what you’re getting in to and do your research!

On the Nutrition Side…

This area gets tricky since supplements come in various forms of bullshit. For a long time, there wasn’t much quality information available on the internet unless you went to PubMed or some other peer-review, research-based website and then extrapolated your own conclusions from the studies. Unless you are involved in academia, then that is VERY unlikely.

Some of the most basic and cheapest supplements are the best ones! But supplements like Vitamin D3, fish oil, creatine, whey protein, and multivitamins aren’t sexy. People want the latest and greatest, celebrity endorsed, and overly-hyped supplement.

You’ve got people believing that putting butter in coffee is the greatest thing since sliced bread, that “fat-burners” actually work (Hint: most don’t), and doctors with no formal education in sports nutrition and supplements recommending “miracle cures” such as garcinia cambogia and raspberry ketones. For the record, neither of which are an effective supplement for weight loss in humans according to Hopefully, you’re not someone that bought into the hype. If so, then I can only leave you with THIS.

The best thing you can do is to fully research each individual ingredient on EVERY supplement you plan to purchase to create a full awareness of what it is you’re buying and putting into your body. One important aspect people tend not to take into account is the possible dangerous interactions with prescription drugs you may already be taking. In order for some supplements to work they need to be taken in efficacious dosages, not small amounts in undisclosed proprietary blends. The consumer and said nutrition expert needs to know what is proven to work and what isn’t along with possible precautions.

Supplements aside, be cautious of unqualified professionals that give nutrition advice that is outside of their scope of practice. There are 17 states that are very restrictive on nutritional counseling. For example, even though I am a Certified Sports Nutritionist through the International Society of Sports nutrition (ISSN), I cannot give individualized nutrition counseling without a state license or exemption (this is where Registered/Licensed Dietitians come in). The rules and regulations vary by state so check out to see what is legal and illegal where you practice.

Individual faults aside, large supplement companies also lack integrity as many have inaccurate label claims such as the case with protein spiking. It’s not that the industry is unregulated because Congress, the FDA, FTC, and NAD all oversee the market. It is just insufficiently enforced. Quality control is the main issue in the supplement industry (2).


Not everyone is out to do the right thing so just be aware, do your research, and stay abreast on current topics in health, nutrition, and fitness. Trainers and nutrition experts need to do their part to give our industry a better name. If you don’t have the answers it is completely okay to admit that. I do it all the time. The journey is a learning process so learn along the way and maintain integrity. Doing so will keep you winning in the long-term.






  1. Bibi, Khalid W., and Michael G. Niederpruem. “Chapter 7: Safety, Injury Prevention, and Emergency Care.” ACSM’s Certification Review. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010. 142-43. Print.
  2. Collins, Rick, JD. “Nutrition Law Every Fitness Professional Should Know.” The 12th Annual ISSN Conference. Austin Texas, Austin. 3 Apr. 2016. Lecture.
7 Things Women Should Know About Strength-Training

7 Things Women Should Know About Strength-Training

The following is from an interview I did for a How is strength training good for women specifically? Prevention of osteoporosis would be a great reason women should strength train. Research indicates that long-term weight training can help maintain and even form new bone. […]

Recent Gems Worth Reading or Watching

Recent Gems Worth Reading or Watching

Whoa, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here on the main site. If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or “the Gram” then you know I’ve still been actively posting there. Stay woke on those social media outlets because you might miss something […]

Gains For Everyone

Gains For Everyone

It’s safe to say I’ve reached a pinnacle in my career where my friends and clients confide in my knowledge of fitness and nutrition because they will regularly tag me on Facebook and Instagram about the latest supplement, diet, or fitness-related product. People also send me Snapchats of their meals to validate to me that they eat healthy while using the hashtag #gains or #gainz.

They know I’m about that life. Some even say that’s all I talk about…there is some truth to that. It’s funny considering I’m not the most jacked guy in the gym, though I’m fairly strong for my bodyweight. So yeah I talk about gains, I read about gains, I eat for gains, and daydream about gains…of all kinds.

So allow to me clarify what gains are because they can be had by all.

Muscular Gains

This one is likely the most obvious because, well, gains bro. But in all seriousness, this aspect of achieving gains in the scientific community is known as muscular hypertrophy which can be defined as the muscular enlargement resulting from training, primarily owing to an increase in the cross-sectional area (CSA) of the existing fibers (1). Gains in muscular size can typically be achieved when using repetition range between 65% and 85% of your 1-repetition maximum (RM).

This is what a lot of guys and girls are after when it comes to resistance-training. Somewhere along the way, you were inspired to lift weights because maybe you saw fitness models in magazines, your older brother doing it, thought it would improve your love/social life, or maybe the most athletically talented kid in school. You made the decision that you wanted gains in your muscular definition right then and there. The seed was planted and the rest is history.

So that’s gains in a nutshell. When you see it hash-tagged on the internetz or your friends talking about it, that’s likely what it is.

Lean Gains

Achieving lean gains is likely the hardest for most to carry out because it arguably involves more discipline as your diet becomes the biggest factor here. Although this term was coined by Martin Berkhan, lean gains is more specific as it generally refers to those wanting to maintain their lean body mass (muscle) but drop some body fat. By making steady decreases in your body fat percentage, this is known as lean gains because you’re increasing your level of leanness.

If you’ve read some of my previous articles on dieting, then you know what it takes to get leaner. Sure, you can start by exercising more and may have luck dropping a few pounds at first but your weight loss efforts need to be strategic. I’ve laid out everything you need to know to get started in 5 Reasons You’re Not Lean(er). That should set you on the right path for lean gains.

Another plus to making lean gains is when you’re  successfully losing weight while also making gains in strength AND muscular size. Yes, losing body fat and gaining muscle is entirely possible in certain populations given specific circumstances. Beginner trainees, overweight individuals with limited training experience, and those coming back from an extended layoff would fit into this category of making lean gains. Those that have trained for a while are less likely to experience this type of effect from training and dieting.

Strength Gains

By now you’re likely seeing a trend with these.

Acquiring strength gains requires you to lift heavier loads that only allow 6 reps or less. Strength can be defined as the ability to exert force at any given speed (2). Gains in strength are largely due to neural adaptations because the body learns how to generate more force from muscle fiber recruitment, rate coding frequency of nerve impulses, and synchronization motor units (3).

In order to gain strength, you need to move heavy loads that equate to >85% of your 1-repetition maximum. Strength gains are those you’ve made in an effort to become stronger. Maybe you deadlifted or squatted 5 to 10 lbs heavier than you did the week before. That’s always a great feeling of accomplishment! Obviously you’ve done something right to become stronger with your training and/or nutrition to make these kinds of gains in strength.

Gains Are for Everyone

Long story short, don’t hate on the gains someone is making. Embrace them and congratulate that individual’s effort and willingness to strive towards a better version of themselves. In the end, it’s all bout goal-setting and smashing those goals so you can move on to the next. Push your limits and find out how far you can take it in an effort to make your own individual gains.

Nobody likes taking a loss. If you’re not gaining, you’re losing. If you’re not getting gains, you should probably try hiring a professional : )







1. National Strength and Conditioning Association; Thomas R. EdD Baechle; CSCS (2011-05-01). Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (Kindle Locations 3452-3453). Human Kinetics. Kindle Edition.
2. National Strength and Conditioning Association; Thomas R. EdD Baechle; CSCS (2011-05-01). Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (Kindle Location 2730). Human Kinetics. Kindle Edition.
3. Schoenfeld, Brad (2012-09-19). The MAX Muscle Plan (Kindle Locations 1800-1801). Human Kinetics. Kindle Edition.


Must-Read Fitness and Nutrition Articles from Feb-April 2015

Must-Read Fitness and Nutrition Articles from Feb-April 2015

The past few months have been BUSY so I’ve been slacking on my personal web content. HOWEVER, it doesn’t mean I haven’t kept up on my regular reading of awesome fitness and nutrition articles & videos. Here are the ones I thought were worthy of […]

Strategies in Addressing Knee Pain: Part 1

Strategies in Addressing Knee Pain: Part 1

Let’s face it: the muscles of the lower body get WORKED on a daily basis. Whether or not you are an elite athlete or an average Joe (or Jane) riding the keyboard, your quads, hamstrings, and glutes are carrying a lot of stress and tension. […]

Whey Protein + Coffee = Pre-Workout!

Whey Protein + Coffee = Pre-Workout!

When I posted THIS to Facebook, I think some people had really never thought of this before! It’s such a simple go-to when you’re in need of a high-protein meal snack while also looking for an energy boost.

Optimum Nutrition (one of my favorite brands) recently released a series of whey protein products with added natural caffeine and B-vitamins called Protein Energy. Currently, there are four flavors available on Amazon: Chocolate, Cinnamon Bun, Mocha Cappuccino, and Vanilla Latte. Right now I’m cycling back and forth between the Mocha Cappuccino and Cinnamon Bun. Both of which are great, especially the Mocha Cappuccino!

Each scoop has 10g of high quality whey protein isolate and concentrate along with 60mg caffeine derived from coffee and green tea extract. This is a great feature because it allows the consumer to tailor the amount of protein and caffeine for each serving by adding additional scoops. Assess your caffeine tolerance and try adding it to your favorite cup of copy for some extra energy anytime of the day or before a grueling training session!

Check out the Instagram video below on how I made my own pre-workout! Make sure to follow me for more great tips and videos!

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How to Train and Eat for Optimal Endurance: Interview with Dr. Mike Ormsbee

How to Train and Eat for Optimal Endurance: Interview with Dr. Mike Ormsbee

This past summer, I had the pleasure of  attending the International Society of Sports Nutrition Annual Conference in Clearwater Beach, FL where the brightest minds in Sports Nutrition gathered to display some of their latest research. Out of all of the presentations, one stood out the […]