Getting The Best Results From Your Workouts

Yes, you can get a great workout without spending money on a monthly gym membership.  You can still get great results

We received an email from one of our subscribers (who will go nameless to protect their identity) and they had specific concerns about not being able to get great results from working out because they couldn’t afford to go to a “real gym”.  We reached out to our friends at the Functional Athlete, a personal training gym in Countryside, IL, to address some of the concerns and we wanted to share their responses with you.

I don’t have fancy equipment. 

Don’t be mistaken…you can still get a great workout without using fancy equipment. In fact, you don’t really need any equipment at all. Many people don’t realize just how fit you could get with nothing but your own bodyweight, a small space on the floor or ground, and a timekeeping device (say, a wall clock or wristwatch).

I don’t have a lot of time to workout.

Search any app store and you’ll find many apps that promise a great workout in 7 minutes or less. We have tried several and they are good for beginners but once you master the 7-minute workout, the next progression for many of these apps are doing the same workout twice or even 3 times. It’s true that you can get sweat dripping, calorie burning complete workouts in 20 minutes or less. In that time, you can get all the strength, endurance, flexibility/mobility, balance, and cardio that you need.

Do I just need to workout or do I need to change my diet too?

No matter what your workout routine is, its benefits can be nullified by a bad diet. If you want to see tremendous results then try to eat clean for at least five days a week. Include plenty of fresh vegetables and protein. Try to limit your dairy intake.

How do I overcome my hatred for working out and just do it?

Alright, alright….workouts can be tough, but so can being obese and all of the damaging effects that it comes with. Working out can be exhausting but you’ll feel so good after a great workout. Put in the extra effort. Step up your game. You will feel tired when you’re putting in that extra effort. It should suck. It should hurt (in the right way, of course). Push yourself! If you can laugh, read a newspaper/magazine/novel, hold a conversation, or watch TV while working out, you’re not going hard enough.

I lose focus during my workouts.

Get your mind right.  Workouts are more effective if you’re mentally focused and present. Be present in your workouts and by that we mean that everything you do in your workout, you should be thinking about how your body is moving, whether it’s moving as a cohesive, unified, functional unit, how it feels, whether your form is as correct as possible, etc. While it’s true that you can benefit from a workout even if you just zone out to music, you can get even more benefits by putting forth the effort and paying attention. Remember, it’s only 20 minutes after all.

Diet vs. Exercise – Which is Better for Weight Loss

Should You Focus on Diet or Exercise When Trying to Lose Weight?

It’s not uncommon to hear this question as least once per week.  Is exercise or diet better for weight loss?  HuffingtonPost  interviewed Michele Olson, PhD, professor of physical education and exercise science at Auburn University at Montgomery, Alabama.  She  recommends that you should hit the gym.  She mentioned that” you can lose weight with diet alone, but exercise is an important component. Without it, only a portion of your weight loss is from fat and you’re also stripping away muscle and bone density.

Since working out stimulates growth of those metabolic tissues, losing weight through exercise means you’re burning mostly fat. The number on the scale may not sound as impressive, but because muscle takes up less space than fat does, you look smaller and your clothes fit better. Data show that to lose weight with exercise and keep it off, you don’t need to run marathons. You just need to build up to five to seven workouts a week, 50 minutes each, at a moderate intensity, like brisk walking or Zumba. Resistance training helps, too. But don’t just do isolated weight-lifting exercises like biceps curls — you’ll get leaner faster by using your body weight against gravity, as with movements like squats, lunges, push-ups and planks. And, of course, beyond burning fat, people shouldn’t forget that exercise can have other impressive health perks, like improving the quality of your sleep, lowering your cholesterol and reducing your stress level.”

They also spoke to Shawn M. Talbott, PhD, nutritional biochemist and former director of the University of Utah Nutrition Clinic.  His recommendation is to Eat Smart. He says, “As a rule of thumb, weight loss is generally 75 percent diet and 25 percent exercise. An analysis of more than 700 weight loss studies found that people see the biggest short-term results when they eat smart. On average, people who dieted without exercising for 15 weeks lost 23 pounds; the exercisers lost only six over about 21 weeks. It’s much easier to cut calories than to burn them off. For example, if you eat a fast-food steak quesadilla, which can pack 500-plus calories, you need to run more than four miles to ‘undo’ it!

“So, what should you eat? It’s true that low-carb diets tend to be the most popular because they offer the fastest results, but they can be difficult to sustain. I recommend striving for a more balanced plan that focuses on fruits and veggies, lean proteins and whole grain carbs. And never cut calories too low (this causes your metabolism to slow, and you can start losing muscle mass). For a healthy daily calorie count, allow 10 calories per pound of body weight — so a 150-pound woman should shoot for a 1,500-calorie target. That way, you should be able to lose weight no matter how much you exercise.”   While diet and exercise are both important for long-term weight loss, remember this: “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet,” says Talbott.

Our Final Word: If you’re serious about losing weight, then this shouldn’t even be a debate. Eat a healthy diet and combine that with exercise. To kick it up even further, you should find yourself a great personal trainer that will give you an intense workout as well as nutritional coaching.


Muay Thai Technique Training

muaythaiThe article cites Matveyev’s model of periodisation, including what I thought was a fantastic graph showing not only how training volume (sets, reps and duration) and intensity (% of 1 rep max and % of max heart rate) should be phased to peak for an approaching competition (fight), but also the phasing of technical and specialized Muay Thai work. This wasn’t something I’ve seen so clearly represented before and had to pass it on.

Generally, strength and conditioning training, and Muay Thai training are handled by two separate, specialist coaches. Matveyev’s model clearly shows the contributions from both strength and conditioning and Muay Thai coaches working in concert together. What’s critical is that both coaches communicate and work together to ensure that adaptations don’t conflict. As both a Muay Thai coach and a strength and conditioning coach I can manage this collaboration well. My understanding of training to ‘peak’ for a fight allows me to manage training variables both in the weights room and in the Thai boxing gym.

These variables also relate to the amount, intensity and specificity of the training, not only in terms of strength, power and endurance, but also Muay Thai training. Structuring Thai boxing sessions to allow for peak technical and tactical performance should also be structured according to a longer term progression toward a fight. The graph shows the amount of technical Muay Thai work increasing as the fight approaches. To be clear, this is not the amount of total Muay Thai training, just the amount of technical work included. Periodisation builds generic, foundation qualities before converting them into specialised, killer performance in the ring.

To give you an idea of the progression I like to use with fighters; further from a fight, technical Muay Thai work will focus on using individual techniques efficiently, honing the basics predominantly using bagwork. Progressing toward the fight, more time is spent drilling these techniques in combination to create effective automated patterns with an increasing padwork emphasis. Finally training becomes more specific and personalised — technical and tactical drills focus on sparring work. It’s important to understand this summary explains the emphasis for each phase. For example, I’m not saying no sparring occurs early on, just there’s less of it and it’ll be less tactical in nature. Hopefully you can see how the amount of technical Muay Thai work increases as the fight approaches.

Thinking about how you structure your training leading up to a fight can make a massive difference to how you perform, you don’t want to peak too early! with this article from, the intention is to provide some food for thought regarding periodising Muay Thai training as well as your more general strength and conditioning work. They’re both different sides of the same coin.

Martial Artists Tips

MAPeople tell me I tend to sound like an old-timer. I tell them to shut up and get off my lawn! Then I explain that a lot can be learned from comparing the way we did things in the past with the way people do them now. Case in point: martial arts training.





  1. Change your mindset and outlook on life. Martial arts is not teaching you how to fight (that’s more like kickboxing). Martial arts is training your mind and body to work as one in a combative like aliveness.
  2.  In order to become a successful martial artist, you have to take a martial arts class at Midwest Training Center. Unfortunately this means picking a style. When choosing a class you want to find dedicated martial arts instructors who will really teach you the style, step by step. The convenience and actually knowing what you learn is more important than the style you choose. On the other hand, if you are in a situation where both instructors could teach you successfully, then choose the style you like the best or what is in convenience for you.
  3. Change your mindset once again into not allowing your one style to become who you are as a martial artist. Always study every style that you can, and do not like or dislike any type of martial art or fighting style no matter what. If you do, this will only limit your knowledge and cause you to become weak in the mind.
  4. Study a mixture martial arts.Everyone’s different so one form could be the best for you and not work out for your friend. Experiment and see which one’s best for you.
  5. Work in your martial arts, and always do some type of training everyday. The most important part about martial arts is training. Always train, (even if it’s just standing on one leg for balance).
  6. Be patient. In order to see a difference in your fighting combat, it usually takes up to 3 to 6 months of hardcore dedicated training. Also, martial arts takes years to master THE BASICS. But once you know the basics, the principles and the stylish tricks become second-nature.
  7. Start to develop your own style of fighting and your own style of the martial arts you learn. Be free, don’t be robotic into all of the forms you learn. Even as you first start out being a martial artist, have a time set in which you openly fight being free. Let the forms become you don’t become the forms. Eventually, you will develop a naturally unnatural fighting combat or a unnaturally natural fighting combat.