Keep it Simple

Keep it Simple 

By: Ian Cutting

It seems that more and more so, we are approaching the whole realm of health and fitness backwards. We have spent so much time and money making them complicated, and into more of a perception than a reality. They have become topics muddied by secrets and gurus, detoxes and details, filters and photoshop, marketing, and social media. Keep it simple, and here is how.

I’m going to break a few things down into real, actionable, and simple pieces.  They may seem too simple, perhaps even frustratingly so.

Do you want to have a stronger more functional upper body?

Do a lot of push-ups. (Need some guidance? check out this handy video.)

Do you want to have stronger and more functional lower body?

Do a lot of squats. (Also need some help here? Here is another helpful video.)

Do you want to be a healthier, more durable, capable, longer-lasting, functioning, aesthetic… human being?
Do a lot of both.

Do you want to breathe better?
Walk more.  Take the stairs.  Park further away.  Go for easy and relaxing walks (with your head up, not buried in your phone).

Do you want to move better?
Move more.  Stand up and stretch.  Watch less TV, change seats or exercise during the commercials, or watch from the floor.

Do you want to feel better?
Slouch less.  Sit or stand up straighter.  Go outside.  Read a book.  Turn off whatever screen you’re looking at, and go to bed.

Do you want to look (better)?
Drink more water, and have an apple.  Put down or don’t buy the XL chips and cookie boxes, children’s cereals, processed snacks decorated by cartoon characters, and sugar-liquids of questionable contents and origin.  Say no a little more often, confidently, and a little less guiltily.  Say yes appropriately, not overwhelmingly.

Do you want to make a change, fix a problem, heal a hurt, or get better from an injury?
Take action.  Complaining is ineffective.  Telling yourself you’re broken or settling for sympathy doesn’t help you grow (and usually makes it worse).  Doing nothing rarely helps solve anything.

Do you want to make more progress?
Stop seeking or relying on the validation of others.  Fitness exists without hashtags.  Sweat and struggle a little more, stare and scroll a little less.  Double-taps are fine, but they don’t affect the work you have to do. (I’ve found a small committed fitness group can help with this.)

Do you want to be healthier?
Stop thinking that it only counts if the world sees you trying to be healthier.  Some of the healthiest people in the world don’t have online platforms.  Likes don’t really matter.  Effort all adds up.  Just live.

Keep your exercise simple, and do it more often.  Equipment is unnecessary.  It doesn’t take a perfect plan, schedule, or secret exercises.   There is no perfect plan or schedule, and the best exercises are the simplest ones done consistently.

Keep your food simple.  Counting calories, tracking macros, and different diets are fine, if you can stick to them.  However they often create more stress than is worth the changes they might cause, and raise more questions than they answer.  They can confuse the incredibly simple facts of food.  Eat more of the things you already know you should be eating, eat less of the things you already know you shouldn’t be eating as much of.  Look in the mirror regularly, check the scale occasionally, and adjust the quality and quantity of your intake accordingly over time.

Keep it simple, and repeat all of these for the long-term.  Adjust as needed, and have more patience.  The biggest problems are that you wanted all of these changes to have occurred yesterday, are disproportionately motivated by the world seeing them, and are overly concerned with the reactions of others.

How you treat your body you affects how you’ll feel today, how you’ll look in 6 months, and who you’ll be in 10 years.  It doesn’t matter where others have started or what others are doing.  Start wherever you are; that’s the only place you can, the only place that matters.  Get to it.  Keep getting to it.

We know what we have to do to be healthier.  We know, and yet insist on making it more complicated than it needs to be.  Move more, eat better, work harder, repeat.

Filter the noise.  Dilute the details.  Take action.  Be patient.

Keep it simple.

The 5 best reasons NOT to workout!

By Dave Bender

You know that sinking feeling you get when you think “Hey, I really should take some time and get myself healthy (again). January is right around the corner and this year. This year is gonna be different!”

Well stop, stop saying that this is the year. This is NOT the year. This year is just like last year, and the year before that. In my 10 + years in the business of getting people crazy healthy, and wicked strong I have found out the truest reason’s why you shouldn’t start working out this year.


 Here are the 5 best reasons NOT to workout!


  1. The weather is TERRIBLE today!

    The 5 best reasons NOT to workout

Funny thing about the weather is that you aren’t kidding. It’s hot, it’s cold, it’s snowing, it’s raining, there is wind and hail, and lightning, and sleet, and who knows what else. Last time I checked though you probably get up everyday and go to work in a climate controlled office, or at least a place with a roof. Equally ironic, is that almost all gyms are also inside of buildings with heat, lights, and a roof. Some have better playlists than other though, but don’t quote me on that.


  1. My kids have…

    The 5 best reasons NOT to workout

Yep they do, they have all of those things and then some. Do you know what they will remember though? Mom and/or dad being there on their graduation, wedding day, first born, second born, seventh born… See where I am going? It is highly possible that your kids don’t have anything going on at 5am. You don’t even have to leave your house. You could take 30 minutes a day to take care of yourself so you are there when they will want you to be down the road. Then again… there is always sleep, right?

  1. Working out takes SO MUCH TIME!!!

    The 5 best reasons NOT to workout

Yes, I said it. You can change your long term health in roughly 3 months if you workout for 30 minutes a day, 3 to 4 days a week. That is definitely NOT worth it. I mean seriously, that is like 18 to 48 hours of working out over the course of 12 weeks. I don’t know about you but that is far too much time spent on looking and feeling better, and not on Game of Thrones.

  1. Eating ONLY Broccoli and Broiled Chicken EVERY DAY!!!

    The 5 best reasons NOT to workout

Here are the cold hard facts. You want your body to look like that last super hero movie you just saw. RIGHT? Well you have to change how you eat. Just broccoli and chicken… and bacon, cheese, beer, wine, bourbon, tacos, sushi, eggs, spinach, doughnuts, and I think even cookies… Actually you really can eat all the things you always have eaten. You just you need to make some hard choices, like 1 oreo, or the entire sleeve of oreo’s…. Hmmmmmm.


  1. It’s SO EXPENSIVE!!!

    The 5 best reasons NOT to workout

You are absolutely right! It is expensive, really expensive. I mean if you actually hire a professional to help you. (which will save you time.) Like you do when you take your car to a mechanic. Or get your teeth cleaned at the best dentist in town. OR trust your fiscal future with a financial planner.

That being said you can do it on your own, for FREE. There are about 10,000 + workouts posted on Youtube that you can do at home. Or even at the $10 a month purple box fitness place. Hell, our Youtube page is full of FREE advice, and workouts. Although that leads to a different conversation, how much is your time worth? (If you are unsure you should read this article.)

Here is the kicker though, do you know what is more expensive? Diabetes, joint replacement, daily medication, and medical bills… Just something you should consider if you want to start workout or not.


In summary:

For those of you who want to start working out this year. DON’T. Save yourself time, money, and some peace of mind in that the owner of one of the best training facilities in the area talked you out of a sweaty, well rested, more active, sexier you.

Now where are the doughnuts?

Mind Your Movement: The Plank

Mind Your Movement: The Plank
By: Ian Cutting

The plank is an incredibly effective full body exercise. Planks force you to contract every muscle you have, creating high levels of tension. This tension helps you build body awareness and stability.
They require total body engagement, and emphasize core and hip stability. This translates into improved performance in many other exercises, such as push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and kettlebell swings.
Learning how to plank correctly will improve your abilities both in and out of the gym, and they are far more than a contest to see how long you can stay propped up on your elbows.

Enter the “hard-style” plank.

So planks require engagement, create tension, build stability, and increase awareness, but what does all of that training jargon even mean? More importantly, how do you planks and how can all of that help you? Well, let’s keep it simple, practical, and break them down so they can help you build yourself up.
The Setup: Make your way to the floor, with your…


1) Forearms on the ground, with elbow directly below shoulders.
a. Elbows bent at 90°.
b. There is a straight line from your shoulders, through your elbows, to the floor.

2) Legs extend straight out behind you, and are close together.
a. Toes are down.
b. Knees raised up off the floor.

3) Back and hips are straight, level.
a. Hips are not arrow /\ shaped, pointed up towards the ceiling.
b. Back is not U shaped, sagging down towards the floor.


This is the setup. Now, let’s get to all of that fun engagement and muscles and stuff we talked about earlier.
A true, hard-style plank means that every muscle is tight, preventing anything that might knock into you from pushing you around. Your body is a true plank, locked into one solid, immovable position. Here’s how it goes.

The Exercise: You’re all setup. Let’s plank.

1) Squeeze your glutes and core, with everything you’ve got.
a. “Squeeze your cheeks”. Think of your butt eating your shorts.
b. “Rock-solid abs”. Tighten, brace yourself, as if someone was about to punch you in the gut (which, you know, someone might).


2) Squeeze your legs, with everything you’ve got.
a. Tighten you thighs (quads and hamstrings), and lower legs (calves)
b. Straighten, squeeze.


3) Squeeze your back, chest, shoulders, and arms, with everything you’ve got.
a. Keep your neck and face relaxed.
b. Everything from your fingertips to your toes is now tight and on fire.
c. Breathe normally.


Hold this position, with your arms, shoulders, back, core, hips, and legs all tight.
And last but not least, to finish bracing and locking yourself in.


4) Try to “pull the floor together”.
a. Pull your elbows towards your toes.
b. Pull your toes towards your elbows.
c. Picture yourself crinkling, folding up the floor beneath you.


The plank creates full body tension by forcing you to contract every muscle you’ve got.
Planks alone are an effective exercise and are important to have in your training toolbox.
The principles of a plank (core engaged, glutes tight…) will also help you perform other exercises.
So from now on when are planking focus, and force your body to work. Set up in the correct alignment, squeeze everything you’ve got, and don’t forget to breathe.

If done properly, you shouldn’t be able think about anything other than not passing out, much less be able to hold a conversation.

The 5 best reasons to swing a Kettlebell!

What is it About the Kettlebell?

by Ian Cutting

I was talking to someone recently about fitness and training, and the subject of the kettlebell came up. At one point during this part of our conversation they stopped me and asked, “What is it about kettlebells, how do they work…what makes them so special?”

First of all, I believe in in kettlebells as a training tool, and both I and many clients I train use them frequently to great success. I believe they can help almost anyone improve their health and fitness, and make progress towards and achieve practically any training or lifestyle related goal.

“Well, they…” and I went on to say a little bit about how they are a useful tool and you can do a lot with them. While I’m pretty sure nothing I said was wrong, I realized I hadn’t given them a good answer. It put me off to no be able to talk about them in the way I know I should be able to, and that would actually help someone who didn’t know anything about them. There needed to be a better explanation, especially for those who might have never used kettlebells before and are unsure of their benefits.

So I sat down and thought about a few of the key reasons why kettlebells work and what makes them so effective.

Here are the 5 best reasons to learn to swing a kettlebell:

• They’re adaptable: You can perform many different variations of squats, hinges, pushes and pulls, lunges, loaded carries, and even rotations with kettlebells.
• They’re scalable: With many different weights and all of those movement patterns to choose from, you can more easily adjust the loading and exercises depending on your body and training needs.
• They’re portable: As fitness equipment goes, kettlebells aren’t hard to move around and don’t take up that much space. Keep a bell in your car or basement or garage and there’s no excuses not to get something done.
• They’re versatile: They can be used to build muscular strength, power and endurance, for cardio/conditioning, increasing mobility and improving balance, even more isolation work for rehab/prehab purposes.
• They’re efficient: You don’t need to spend all day training. You can pack a lot of work into a small(er) amount of time.


Ultimately, all of those add up to the most important point. Kettlebells are effective because they eliminate many of the most common excuses for why people don’t exercise.

You can perform virtually any movement with kettlebells, and they help keep training simple because there’s always a more or less advanced version of an exercise to work on. You can bring them anywhere because they don’t take up much space in your car. If you’re too busy to make it to the gym, you can exercise at home. If you don’t live near a gym, they’re a great, durable, low cost training tool that last a long time.

Kettlebells give you a way to train for any health and fitness goal, and help you train consistently by eliminating many common excuses. At the end of the day, consistency is most important factor of all in your making the progress and achieving the results you’re looking for.

Without diving deeper into more science-y answers for how kettlebells work (that’s an article for a later date), those are a few of the reasons for what makes them so special. So the next time someone asks you about the benefits of kettlebells, you’ll have some solid answers to give them.

Happy swinging!

If you would really like to learn more about us and how we can really help you achieve the goals, and body you want please click here.

Athletic Development: What Athletes Need…

Athletic Development:What Athletes Need…
By Ian Cutting

Over the past few years we keep hearing about the increasingly competitive nature of youth athletics. More parents are investing time and money on their children’s athletic development in the hopes they’ll be able to play on the all-star travel team, be a varsity starter, earn a college scholarship or professional contract.

The health and fitness industry also continues to grow rapidly. There are more fitness facilities and training certifications available than ever before.

The result of focusing on athletic development is the reason we now see a boom in the fitness industry with more gyms offering programs labeled as “sports performance”. These programs consistently involve high levels of intensity, flashy jumping, and a lot of fancy words and exercises that do a better job of selling the parents on their methods than actually helping the athletes. They’re good at opening your wallet, but not always unlocking the potential of your child. Passing the eye test for intensity doesn’t mean it fits the bill for effectiveness or safety.

How can you tell what’s for show versus what actually has substance?


What is training?

Training consists of what an athlete needs, versus what the tricks are and what athletes don’t need. Athletes need a training program which helps them get stronger, and stay healthier. A program that keeps things simple, covers basic movement patterns, improves durability, addresses weaknesses, and is varied based on the sport, season, and individual needs. This is a program, and doesn’t shift focus every day, week, or even the first day of every month.

Athletes, and kids need a well-rounded program that focuses on strength training, and includes appropriate levels of conditioning and mobility. They need guidance on nutrition, hydration, sleep, and recovery and to learn about how those things are just as if not more important than the work they put in in the gym. They need attention to help address the individual needs and concerns that every young and developing body has.

Athletes need a program with a long-term focus that accounts for changes in sport season.They need periodic assessments on variables that translate into improved on field success. This program has varying levels of intensity to allow for recovery and adaptations to take place.

Tired of reading and want to get ahead of the rest?  contact us here!

What athletes don’t need

Daily HIIT workouts with countless jumps and landings. They don’t need exhausting metabolic sessions and to always be leaving the gym battered and broken. They don’t need endless circuits targeting every single body part day after day after day. They don’t need to leave every session wondering how they’re going to make it up the stairs or survive the next practice. They don’t need complicated terminology, and don’t always need more, more, and more training.

Those type of workouts performed day after day, season after season hurts their progress, and their prospects. There is a difference between workouts, and following a training program. A body that doesn’t recover properly cannot grow. If intense training is stacked on top of existing health problems or injuries, things will get worse. If a poor movement pattern is loaded with heavy weight, something (their body) will break.

What athletes DO need – A training program based on goals

These things have to be met in order to improve a skill or perhaps hit a standard. This requires different methods than the series of workouts put together to help a middle aged man get back in shape, the stay at home mom lose 10 pounds, or satisfy the grumbling employee who only has a gym membership because it means a deduction on their insurance, nor will please the exercise enthusiast who loves all activity and will do whatever the workout of the day happens to be.

A strength and conditioning program will improve an athlete’s output and longevity. What they need is strong fundamental movement development. It’s the strength that lets a player stop without their body weight forcing them to fall down, or to tear an ACL or MCL when changing directions. The benefits, and knowledge behind the recovery phase of their programming that keeps them in top form throughout their competitive season.

Unfortunately there are now more trainers out there than ever advertising sports performance without the knowledge and skill to be able to back it up. Most movement is better than no movement, but ever varying, high-intensity workouts, in large groups of constantly exhausted athletes with different needs and pre-dispositions to injury does not constitute an effective training program, and are not safe training environments.

Are they workouts, or is it training? Is it good for the athlete, or does it just look good for the parents? It’s easy to make someone sweat, it’s hard to make an athlete better. There are tricks, and then there is training. One first one leaves kids broken down, the second one builds kids up.

What Contemporary Athlete does differently

For the last 5 years we have been helping athletes become more complete athletes. Through comprehensive programming that is simple to understand, and falls in line with their athletic season. Because we have great communication with our student athletes and their parents its easy for us to adjust for critical events, and rhythmic changes over the course of a competitive season or the off season. The fundamentals are key for progressive development. The squat, hinge, plank, push, and pull all correlate to managing ones potential short comings and leave their strengths to be able to shine. The hardest thing to do is to learn how to recover, and when to do so. If you don’t understand how to stop, then you are just like everybody else that just can go fast. Which down the road leaves you getting passed by, by those that learned fundamental skills. These things are key for those looking to move onto the next stage either into the collegiate ranks or into elite levels of play.

This difference means athletes that will be healthier, happier, stronger, faster, more confident, prepared, and successful. Seriously, don’t take our word for it though check out some of our success stories.

If you are ready to really change how you play, and set yourself up for greatness contact us today.

Wicked Simple Weight loss

It’s as easy as basic math: 3-2=1 Awesome you!

I’m going to tell you how simple it is to shed that unwanted weight. (This doesn’t mean it won’t take effort). Weight loss is simple. By creating a deficit in your daily calories, weight loss is inevitable.

I hear all of these when talking with new clients about weight loss.

  1. Gimmicky diets
  2. Interwebs information that eating 1200 or less calories every day is how to get rid of fat fast (thats a myth)
  3. $100’s of dollars spent every month on supplements is gonna do it.
  4. You need to workout harder to burn all those “extra” calories
  5. Any or all of these things sound familiar?

Yeah, it’s all the same BS the product marketers keep putting out that confuse you into buying some BS stuff that doesn’t work.

Step 1: Calm down and be patient. Weight Loss Takes Time.

It took time to put on fat, get out of shape, and become discouraged. If you think you can get rid of it overnight you are mistaken. Therefore the “quick fat loss” mentality leaves you highly likely to gain it all back and then some. As a result this is why “dieting” doesn’t work.

Here is why this happens. You’re in a hurry. Which forces you to buy into fad diets that are not sustainable. It doesn’t give you the time to develop the habits that let you maintain loss for the long term.

Step 2: Eat real food.

You need to eat less food but start by eating real food. Stay away from shakes, pill, and any quick fix. Start with some carrots, and fruit. (Veggies, grains, meat, plants with high protein, good fats, and water, lots of water.) Frequently the desire to starve yourself thin is what you think will work. Really it will make your body hang on extra hard to that extra energy you are carrying around, because your brain will always protect you, from you.

Step 3: How fast can I lose?

We should probably discuss how fast you should be expecting to lose fat. This depends on how much fat you have to lose. The greater your starting levels of body fat are the faster you can expect to lose. Granted the leaner you start, a slower rate of loss will be best to minimize muscle and strength loss.

A caloric deficit, is important. It just has to be the right amount for you.

With that in mind: set fat loss targets between 0.5 – 1% of your total bodyweight per week. The benefit of using percentages is the rate of loss automatically scales with your bodyweight. Here is a great example.

  • If a person weighs 250 lbs. They can expect to lose~1.25 -2.5lbs per week.
  • On the contrary someone who weighs 160 lbs, will aim to lose ~0.8 – 1.6lbs per week.

Step 4: Measurable results or your just guessing.

For long term success you need to make adjustments to your calorie intake. This sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. Weight loss comes with consistency.  Tracking helps you see how consistent you’ve been.

You need data to track changes.

By weighing yourself daily, in the morning, after using the bathroom and before eating breakfast.

This is important if you want your most accurate weight. Track for a week! Then find the average weigh-in for the week.

I hate tracking! So why the weekly average?

Your weight will change daily. Don’t try to figure it out it is completely normal that’s why you take a lot of data. Use these basic math skills: Add days 1-7 then divide by 7.

Weekly weight loss expectations

chart credit: Physiqonomics

I borrowed this table to show how this works. It’s 3 weeks of tracking. The key notes to take is that there is day to day changes, and then at the end of the week obviously it is trending down! Which is the goal for most people.

Here are a few other ways we want to track, and they are all things that we do here at CA.


Weigh-ins are only one piece of the puzzle and they are going to fluctuate. So having other things to compare those numbers too is important. I have quite literally seen people lose 10’s of inches and the scale not shift a lb. Weight loss isn’t always about losing pounds, its about losing inches.

Progress Photos

You look at the same person everyday. Keeping weekly progress photos will also provide objective data for you to base your weight loss changes on. This just gives you healthy perspective.

Step 5: Give it time to work!

Your body needs time to adjust. Give it that time ideally a minimum 4 weeks!! Then you can start to tweak what you are doing in order to see constant progress.


  1. Eat real food.
  2. track daily then average at the end of the week
  3. adjust at the end of 4 weeks based on what you tracked
  4. Patience
  5. Be patient!
  6. Still confused by the last two? PATIENCE!!!!

Now if you still need help. We are more than happy to take you on as a client here at the CA, all of our coaches are more than qualified to work with you on your goals, and we even have one of the best nutritionists in the area on staff! Get in touch with us here.

How important is it to suffer? AKA Embrace the Suck

How important is it to suffer? AKA Embrace the Suck

On the regular here I see same thing happen. New people come into the CA and their mental fortitude is absolute garbage. Yes, a complete wasteland of weakness, and self-defeatist actions: You get these self – limiting statements.

  • It’s too heavy.
  • That is way to much time.
  • I can’t sprint that far.
  • How many rounds?
  • I can’t get all of that done in the time you gave me.
  • I’m sore.
  • I think my hair hurts, is that possible?

I actually hear these things, sometimes daily, or even hourly. So why? Why do you say them? Did you learn to believe them? Is there a reason you are lying to yourself about your abilities?

Here are five ways to destroy that mentality, crush your workouts, and start f$*king winning at life. Let’s go on a little journey… into how to suffer.

Life will reward the valiant: Funny enough if you look at predator vs. prey those that get up and start the day on the hunt because they are “hungry” win. Sometimes that means food, in business, or getting strong and fit AF.

  • Get up at a time that sucks: (I start my day at 4 -4:15 AM everyday. Yes, occasionally I get 1 snooze. Occasionally I just need to lay in bed for 5 minutes and get my head screwed on tight.)

Unbag your sh*t: Yes, we all have  excuses. Never enough time, chores, tasks, yadda, yadda, yadda, so “I’ll do that workout tomorrow.” (Tomorrow never comes, your excuses just replaced it.)

  • Prioritize YOU: that means your training (strong body) your nutrition (fueling) your recovery (sleep). If you do this you win at number 1.

But could you die?: We all set bullsh*t goals. Like “I want to lose 10#, tone up, or look good in that swim suit.” Yeah big f$*king deal. Since working with a class of people that depend on their fitness to bring them home safe to their family; or let them save the person next to me has taught me a lot about intensity. It’s the scary shit that gets you out of bed at 4am. In order to train like a f*%king animal and get the seriously sick results you want.

  • Pick a goal that is intense and makes you uncomfortable. If you think you might actually die trying to get that goal your motivation will multiply exponentially.

I saw it on Youtube: Yeah… it looked really cool, by somebody, 1000x more “fit” than you. Here is the cold hard truth. True training is boring as f*$k. Learning to be mentally engaged during the most boring activity you can think of will help you with win while “suffering”.

  • If you’re still following me… Let me reiterate, if your goals suck, then so will your gimmicky training, and so will your results. If it scares the sh*t out of you, you will always be mentally engaged in the process. Want to challenge your mind? Leave your headphones at home. Lock yourself in a silent room and do 500 burpees while staring at a blank wall. You’ll face all of those voices real quick. Once you do, tell them to f&%k off and keep going till its done.

But they are my friends: One of the greatest tools you can have is a training partner, I don’t mean your friend either. You know the one, the one that wants to get a rainbow unicorn f*#king frappacino after your “intense” treadmill walking session while talking about Kim Kardashians booty gains program. (by the way its called plastic surgery, you don’t get an ass like that without growing hamstrings too..)

  • Find the person that scares the shit out of you at the gym, and tell them you want to be just like them (if that is your goal). Ask them if you can train with them. Whatever they are doing is working. Or hire a coach, or find a gym full of those people you want to be like. You are what you surround yourself with.


Let me summarize all of this for you.

  1. Pick a scary goal with enough time to actually prepare for it.
  2. Train with the intensity it takes to achieve that goal.
  3. Do simple things highly effectively, they will bring you the results you want.
  4. Be serious about the time you do them in, or for.
  5. If you aren’t partially miserable while doing that activity, you aren’t growing and getting better.


We are the best in the area when it comes to setting seriously challenging goals. If you don’t know how to get the results you want, and need guidance or a peer group that will be supportive but also humble you. We would be happy to talk to you more about what it takes to train here at the CA. If that sounds like what you want, and you are ready to commit to yourself, click here now to get scheduled to talk to one of us.

Women’s Strength: STRONG is not a four-letter word.

Do you have a New Year’s resolution? Just have a baby? Want to feel better in your clothes?  Are you just tired of feeling terrible in general?  We totally understand.  Getting started on any fitness program is a daunting task and you probably feel like you’ve tried everything but nothing has been working.

It’s hard enough to take those first steps into the gym, full of treadmills, muscle heads, and mirrors. It can be really intimidating and confusing.  When you finally do go, what should you do? Spend an eternity on the elliptical?  Maybe lift a few weights?  What exercises should you do? What weight should you use and for how many reps?


You start doing what you think you should be doing according to the latest issue of Cosmo. You “put in your time” for a few weeks and don’t see any difference in how you feel or how you look in the mirror and you realize – there has to be a better way. One that works, that challenges you, and most importantly is something fun you will look forward to and want to stick with.

The good news? There is! At Contemporary Athlete, we offer a class specifically designed for and attended by only women. This class is designed to get your heart pumping, your metabolism revving, and your muscles firing. On the surface, we don’t look like your typical “gym.”  There’s no treadmills, no elliptical machines, no muscle heads, and best of all…. NO MIRRORS.  Just women learning how to move weight around safely, effectively, and with a purpose.


We use various equipment, such as TRX, kettlebells, medicine balls, and more to help you reach your goals.  Classes are 60 minutes in length and limited to 10 women each to ensure adequate coaching and optimal results. What will you get out of it? Strength, confidence, a feeling of empowerment, and the knowledge that you are consistently moving towards your goals with changes you can see and feel.

There isn’t any choreography to learn and we are not your typical bubbly instructors yelling things like “no pain, no gain!”

  • We will tell you to get a heavier weight.
  • We will teach you how to safely move and use it.
  • We will tell you to keep going.
  • We will see you struggle and tell you in a normal tone of voice “come on, you got it.”

Why not get ahead of the new year fitness rush and give yourself the gift of strength for the holiday’s?

Contemporary Athlete offers this 7 week program starting December 5th. It takes place on Monday and Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm, and Saturday mornings at 9am.

Are you ready to make a life altering change? Click here to get in touch with us now.

DMS -1 and the great Chris Duffin

If you have ever been to Contemporary Athlete or met David Bender, you know birthdays are usually celebrated with kettlebell swings and copious amounts of sweat. So when Dave told me he had a birthday present for me, I’ll admit I was mildly concerned. I imagined some terrible form of torture where he tries to get me to cry mid-workout. Thankfully, he had a different plan. This birthday present came in the form of an educational trip. (However, I’m not blind to the idea that he may still try to make me cry during a workout but I mean – that will never happen).

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of traveling out to Portland, OR to visit the Kabuki Strength Lab – home to Chris Duffin and the Duffin Movement System. Chris Duffin came from a very humble beginning that included learning how to forage and hunt for his meals. He then went on to become a corporate executive, a world record holding powerlifter, and now owner of his own gym. He is even listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for sumo deadlifting 405lbs for 40 reps in a single minute. Yeah I can’t quite wrap my head around that either. Needless to say he’s an impressive man. It’s quite clear when in Chris’ presence, and around his staff, that they are all very passionate about the work they do.

I spent two days at the Kabuki Strength Lab with 40 other trainers, clinicians, and fitness enthusiasts learning the system that Chris and his coaches have developed for coaching and cueing barbell movements. This seminar focused on the “big 3’; squat, deadlift, and bench press, and using these lifts as a way to also assess the movement of clients. Becoming proficient at a movement without any load or added weight is great progress for most clients.   Performing those same movements under load drastically changes the way our muscles respond. Adding load can give a trainer a great deal of information about which muscles are working to move the weight, which muscles are stabilizing the body, and which muscles are just on vacation and not doing their job. Clients can easily, and unknowingly, fake proper movement when there is no added weight. Throw some weight into a movement and various red flags can start popping up. As a trainer, we must have a toolbox full of ways we can help a client learn the proper ways to engage and fire their muscles to perform any movement or lift properly. Besides just helping your clients move better, you are also preventing injury or even helping them to overcome past injuries and prevent them from happening again.

The goal of the Duffin Movement System is to add to that toolbox. Most of the work to perform a lift properly comes from how you set up for that lift. You need to properly prime and prepare your muscles so they can move with efficiency. With that said, learning the proper set up is no easy task. It takes practice. Over time, we all develop deficiencies in how we move. We have muscles that don’t fire at all, latent firing muscles, or we simply don’t understand how to fully engage a muscle. The Duffin Movement system walked us through a variety of exercises to teach clients to better understand their own movement and how to move with purpose and intention. This was a recurring theme of the weekend, move with purpose and intention. All of this ultimately leads to a client being able to properly set their body up and prepare to work efficiently.

The great thing about the seminar was the accessibility. This seminar is by no means reserved for industry professionals. Any person, at any level, interested in learning to lift better would benefit from the Duffin Movement System training. The coaches were welcoming and fully available for our questions and concerns. They spoke in terms that any level of attendee could understand. We worked in small groups throughout the weekend, side by side with the coaches performing the lifts. In doing do, we learned to correct our own form as well as the form of those in our group. Afterwards we even went out to eat and drink with the coaches. I filled pages and pages of a notebook trying to absorb all the great information. If you’ve been to any of my Women’s Strength classes in the last two weeks you’ve seen what I learned being applied. If you have ever had even a little interest in lifting weights (and learning firsthand just how awesome it is to deadlift) stop by Contemporary Athlete and I’ll show you what it really means to stabilize your core and brace for that big lift.

On January 23rd, I will be offering a deadlift specific clinic here at Contemporary Athlete. If you are interested, please take a look at the flyer below!


Pregnancy: athlete reinvention

Pregnancy: athlete reinvention

(A process, part II)

This blog post comes from a current client and fellow coach in the industry, Halley Pulli. When I met Halley at the ADK Outdoor Expo and started to talk shop, I just wanted to help her with her goals. It has been a ton of fun so far checking things off her “to do” list. Not to mention doing it with a kid on board, and one in tow. It always makes for some good laughs, and teachable moments!Bender

Woman pulling weights


Well into the third trimester and it’s all getting real. I’m now carrying an extra 20 pounds, my feet are swollen, sore, and have developed a pretty intense case of plantar fasciitis, I can’t bend over, my core is all jacked up, joints are achy and not functioning properly….the list goes on. But really, worse than any of the physical challenges, I’m going head to head with well, my head. At this point, it’s become a battle of the brain.

Pregnancy feels like an injury in reverse. There’s really no physical progression at this point and it sure seems like there’s a good amount of regression. The only tangible achievement now is in the moment of showing up and doing what I can. Yay – I hauled myself out of bed and carefully moved some weight!

It’s like falling from the pedestal (you know, the one I’ve put myself upon) – I’ve worked long and hard to achieve a certain level of fitness and strength. I know what I am capable of, or at least what I was once capable of, but it’s slipping away. And with it, the illusion of self-worth, ego, and identity. It’s sad. Real sad. And frustrating. Angering. Embarrassing. It’s change and it ain’t easy. It also turns out that being in this state gets lonely. As a result of my lost endurance, etc., I can’t keep up with most of my fitness community.

As if all of that isn’t hard enough to deal with, there are folks telling me that I shouldn’t be doing as much. “Back it down – you’re pregnant!” “It’s alright to take a break – eat what you want, put your feet up.” “Should you really still be working out like that?!” All well-intended, no doubt. I’ve heard a bunch of nay-saying regarding my continued training as I’ve progressed in my pregnancy and now I’m even nay-saying!

But there is an upside, of course. I get to start fresh post-baby. A new challenge awaits. I will become a new athlete. Different than before. Maybe I’ll find new strengths. Yes, there’s the chance things I was good at before won’t be so great afterward, however I know I’m going to emerge from this period of challenge and change an even better version of the athlete I was. And it’s certainly a great opportunity to explore old perceptions of self.

Pain and struggle can only make me stronger in the end. Every time I want to throw in the towel because I’m getting bigger, slower, less mobile, I get up and train anyway. It’s certainly not impressive but if that’s what I’m really doing it for, then I might as well throw in that towel.

So, how might this apply to my overall fitness journey? I know pregnancy isn’t going to be the last setback or challenge I will ever face as an athlete. Such is life – athleticism, fitness, health – it’s all a journey. When next I’m injured, overtrained, plateaued, burned out, I hope that this experience will remind me that I can recover. Persist. Aim, even without a straight path.

I have to remind myself to finish this journey before I start on the next one. I think that’s really tough too. Who’s got the patience for this kind of work in a world that demands your best, and damn it, right now?! But, the world isn’t walking in my shoes and no one can know the experience I’m having. I also can’t hold onto that like a crutch either. I have to look at the experience, good and bad, and face the hard stuff. Allow vulnerability to seep out and make me uncomfortable, and then use it in my training. So what if I’m not the same?! I am still showing up. I’m still giving it what I can. Brain be damned – I’m not stopping!