Southwest Active – Dec. 5

Wednesday – Upper Int/Varied + SL Int + Core EMOM
A. 5 DB Shoulder to OH/arm every 2 min x 5 sets – toughest sets possible – can push jerk
B. Sled Pull with Pulling Rope, 50ft HEAVY x 5 sets, rest as needed – make it heavy – hand over hand, continuous movement
C. EMOM x 10 minutes:
1st – 6-10 L arm OH DB Walking Lunges – HEAVY
2nd – 6-10 R arm OH DB Walking Lunges – HEAVY
E. 10 min:
30 sec L arm Farmer Hold – heavy
30 sec Front Bridge
30 sec R arm Farmer Hold – heavy
30 sec Front Bridge

Take a moment to think about and appreciate fat….


No, I’m not talking about the “good” fats we eat, like healthy oils and nuts. I mean the actual fat—the adipose tissue—we all have on our bodies, and which we have come to believe is sinful. And the more we have on our body, the more sinful we are, right?

Truth be told, I’d guess around 75 percent of people who show up at our door express their desire to lose weight—to lose fat—as their impetus behind being there. Often the person is embarrassed to talk about it, avoids eye contact and generally looks like he/she just wants the conversation to end. Other times, the person looks you in the eye and says, “I want to look good naked.” And, of course, the assumption is less fat means he/she will look better naked…

The point is, you’re not alone. All of us, even those you might not perceive as needing to lose fat, probably wants to lose fat. Including myself.

Now I’m not trying to talk you out of your body composition goals, but I am asking you to take a moment to consider, and maybe even appreciate, fat—your fat, even—in a different way.

There’s a short documentary called “A Brief History of Fat and Why we Hate it,” by Science Community Lab. Check it out here: ( It’s only 20 minutes long and is very much worth watching.

One quote from the documentary to keep in mind: “We mustn’t confuse fat, which is generally a healthy and important and necessary nutrient, with diseases that come with too much fat”. (The documentary also goes into this, and does a great job explaining insulin resistance and how it leads to Type 2 diabetes).

At the same time, it also challenges you to think about fat in a different way, and appreciate why we have it on our bodies, and that our hatred of it (again, health reasons aside) is a new phenomenon:

  • ”We can go quite a long time without food.  Much longer than some other animals can. Fat really gave us a big advantage in terms of beginning to colonize hostile environments.”-Bruce Spiegelman, Cell Biologist, Harvard University
  • “We have a general cultural abhorrence for fat today, which is a very recent trend.” –Daniel Lieberman, Evolutionary Biologist, Harvard University:


  • ”As an evolutionary biologist I’ve come to appreciate that without fat we would be dead.  Humans wouldn’t be the way we are.  Fat is really life.” – Lieberman

Think about that for a moment: Fat is life. It’s true. Think about what happens when women become too thin and don’t have enough body fat. They stop menstruating. They actually stop being able to procreate. They stop life dead in its tracks. So why do so many women today strive to be 12 percent bodyfat? (The average hunter gatherer female sat closer to 25 percent bodyfat).

  • ”Fat is important to all animals but humans are especially adapted to be fat. Even thin humans who have very little fat on them, by our perspective, are extremely fat compared to most other primates.” – Lieberman

With this, I’d love to discuss the unique childhood experience about “fat.”

I’d love to hear about yours: What ideas about fat and being fat were drilled into your head as a child? Did your parents raise you to avoid eating fat, and becoming fat? To fear fat?

Or Were they overweight, and being overweight was seen as normal, and you, too. expected to become overweight as an adult? How does this affect you today? Do you have scars from the ideas about fat that were instilled in you as a young age? Have you overcome them? How has it shaped you today?

Please, share your stories, in all their fatty glory!

Southwest Active – Tuesday – Dec. 4

Tuesday – DODL Linear + Fsq Ecc + Sn Cyclical
A. Double Overhand No Hook Grip Deadlift @ 11×1, 4 reps x 5 sets, 2-3 min b/t
B. Front Squat @ 40×1, 4-4-4, 2-3 min b/t
C. Warm-up/Prep
D. For Time:
50 cal Rowing
45 Wall Balls @ 15/20lbs to 9/10ft
40 KBS @ 16/24kg
35 Burpees – no jump @ top
30 DB Step-Overs @ 25/40lbs/hand over 20/24” Box

Follow “camping rules” this holiday season: Start the new year in a cleaner, better place than you ended the last year



Food comas, wine hangovers and lazy Netflix days spent inside sipping Baileys in your morning coffee. OK, maybe a walk in the snow here and there, but then back inside for cookies and rum and eggnog. T’is the season to undo all the gains you made in the last year, right?


Ask yourself, “Is it really worth it?”


If it is, by all means be jolly and let yourself go for a month, but if you find yourself whimpering the days away in regret and depression come January and planning New Year’s resolutions you kind of know you won’t honour, then do it differently this drinking season.


Here’s the thing: I truly believe you can have it all. You can enjoy your favourite holiday snack and drinks, but without losing your fitness routine, without suffering during workouts in January, and without packing on any pounds. It just takes a little bit of effort.


Here are some tips that will help you feel like you still have it all!


Wake up, pee, brush teeth, get coffee, WORKOUT!


The biggest reason people fall of their workout routine during this time is because they employ the “I’ll workout this evening,” or “this afternoon,” or “after breakfast” workout plan. Then comes a big brunch with holiday punch and suddenly working out doesn’t seem like a priority anymore.


Instead, workout first thing in the morning, immediately after your morning routine. Do it before you shower and feel too clean to workout, and before you eat breakfast and feel too full to move. It’ll be the best emotional high you get all day and it’ll make you feel less guilty when you show up to brunch and eat all the food and punch.


No gym, no problem


If you go out of town during this time, here are three bodyweight workouts that will get your blood flowing and are relatively mentally manageable, and that you can do in just 10-foot-by-10-foot of space:


  1. Every 30 seconds x 7 minutes: 4-8 burpees.


The faster you get your intended number of burpees done, the more rest you will get. Try a lower number first, and once you feel comfortable with it, increase your number. It’s a great way to log 50 to 100 burpees in a less painful way than doing 100 burpees for time.


  1. Tabata Mash-up:


You can do this with various bodyweight movements, like air squats, push-ups, hollow rocks, hollow holds, burpees, lunges, planks, side planks.


Choose 3 movements and rotate them, working for 20 seconds and resting for 10 seconds for 12 to 16 minutes. Once again, this is a great way to pack in a lot of volume that also allows you to rest, making it easier to handle mentally (most people find) than a “3, 2, 1 go” for time workout.


  1. Stairs!


Staying in a hotel with stairs?


Climb up and down them (run if you’re really into it) and do 1 to 5 burpees at each landing.


Handling holiday feasts


I have often heard the advice that you should eat before you go to a holiday party so you don’t show up hungry. From my experience, all that does it make you eat more because the food there is likely super tasty that you won’t be able to stop yourself. That being said, don’t show up famished and fasted, but go hungry ish. Here are my top three tips: The 3 Ps!


  1. Plate:We often walk around at parties picking at appetizers not realizing how much we’re actually eating, as we’re eating small bites. But by the end of the night, all those small bites add up into way more calories than you ever would have eaten in one sitting. Instead, grab a pate and fill it, or half fill it, to help you monitor how much you’re actually consuming.


  1. Protein:Protein fills you up, so definitely get your usual amount of protein in you to help you avoid all the carbs, carbs, carbs.


  1. Positioning: Position yourself in the room far away from the food table. Hopefully the engrossing conversations you’re having will be enough to stop you from picking at the food long after you are satiated.


Small Changes in January


Sometimes making plans for the new year is as discouraging as the fitness you lost in December. Often this is because we come up with large, and sometimes unrealistic, goals for the new year.


This year, try something new. Instead of massive change, consider making one small change—creating one new manageable habit—each month. This can be as simple as drinking a glass of water the moment you wake up so you don’t feel so famished for breakfast. Once that becomes habit, then build in a new small habit the following month. Keep track of these change (write them down), and before you know it you will have created 12 new, healthy habits that become your new normal, as opposed to one giant resolution you make in January and abandon by February.


All that being said, enjoy yourself and your favourite cookies and traditions this Christmas. But keep it reasonable and start 2019 in a better place you ended 2018.

Southwest Active – Dec. 3

Wk 3/4 – Dec. 3
Monday – Sn EMOM + LSD Gym
A. Above Knee Hang Snatch High Pull. Above Knee Hang Squat Snatch 3.1 x 10 sets, 1-2 min b/t
B. 20-30 min Rowing or AirBike @ 75%
@ minutes 3,6,9,12,15 – get off and perform 5 Toes to Bar + 5 Pull-Ups
@ minutes 18,21,24,27,30 – get off and perform HSPU, PUSHUP, WALL WALK, HSPU NEGATIVES, PIKE Positions

Southwest Active – Dec. 1

Saturday – Carry/Sled + Partner MW MAP + Ez
A. 5 rounds/Not For Time/Consistent Movement – Water Fall Style
100ft Farmer Carry – handles – challenging but not back breaking
100ft Reverse Sled Pull – heavy
B. 10 rounds for time: Teams of 2
100ft SandBag Front Rack Carry @ 100/150lbs
20 cal Assault Bike

Southwest Active – Friday – Nov. 30

Friday – Upper Int/Varied + MG EMOM
A1. Close Grip Bench Press, @ 40×1, 4-5 tough reps x 4 sets, 10 sec
A2. Close Grip Bench Press @ 20×1, 10 moderate reps x 4 sets, 1:30 min – slightly lighter than A1
A3. 50ft Sled Pull with Pulling Rope HEAVY x 4 sets, 10 sec – stay bent over, hand over hand, quick
A4. Parallel Grip Ring Rows @ 20×0, 8-12 tough reps x 4 sets, 1:30 min
C. EMOM x 21 minutes @ high effort;
1st – 2-3 HSPU + 2-3 Toes to Bar + 3-5 Push-Ups
2nd – 6-12 cal AirBike
3rd – 8-12 cal Rowing


Southwest Active – Thursday – Nov. 29

Thursday – Cj EMOM + Cj Cyclical
A. Squat Clean & Split Jerk , 1 rep x 8 sets, 2 min – building
C. For Time:
30 DB Power Cleans @ 35/50lbs/hand – work as needed
30 cal Rowing – 1 partner rows, other partner holds FLR on Hands
30 toes to Bar – 1 Partner performs TTB, other partner holds a handstand – (*scale with KB OH Hold)
30 cal Rowing – 1 partner rows, other partner holds FLR on Hands
30 Pullups – 1 partner performs pullups, other partner holds a handstand
30 cal Rowing – 1 partner rows, other partner holds FLR on Hands
30 DB Power Cleans @ 35/50lbs/hand – work as needed

Southwest Active – Wed – Nov. 28

Wednesday – Upper Int/Varied + SL Int + Core EMOM
A1. Left Half Kneeling Filly Press @ 41×2, 5 tough reps x 3 sets, 10 sec –
A2. Right Half Kneeling Filly Press @ 41×2, 5 tough reps x 3 sets, 10 sec
A3. Supinated Barbell Bent Over Rows @ 41×2, 5 tough reps x 3 sets, 2 min –
B. 5 sets:
10 Reverse Double KB Reverse Lunges – tough loading/arm
30 sec AMRAP of Strict Pronated Pull-Ups or 30 sec AMRAP of Parallel Grip Ring Rows – toughest angle
– 2 min b/t
C. 10 min:
20 sec FLR on Rings
10 sec rest
20 sec Pronated Hang From Pull-Up Bar
10 sec rest

Understanding your Rowing Split Time


If you took off on a 5 km run, you wouldn’t sprint the first 400 meters, gas yourself and end up walking. You would probably strive to run at a reasonably consistent pace for 20-some-odd minutes.

But when it comes to rowing, I constantly see people doing the equivalent of the above, because they have no clue how fast they should be going, let alone what their sprinting speed is versus their 5-km speed.

It comes down to familiarizing yourself with that number in the middle of the screen: Your split time.

Usually when I ask my clients what their rowing strategy is for a 2-km row—when I ask them what split time they intend to hold—for example, they look at me and say one of two things: “What’s a split time?” Or, “I have no idea.”

Understanding your split time is going to be the biggest difference-maker in terms of helping you maximize your efforts during\ any workout with rowing, and avoid that painful feeling of flying and dying.

Split Time Explained:


In rowing, we measure our speed based on a 500-meter distance.

So if the machine says 2:00/500m, this means it will take you 2:00 to row 500 meters. Pretty simple, right? Therefore, if you held 2:00 for 2,000 meters it would take you 8:00 to complete the 2 km row (500 x 4 = 2,000 and 2:00 x 4 = 8:00).

Grade 7 mathematics in action!

Again, one of the biggest mistakes I see people make in terms of their pacing is going out too hard at the start of a rowing piece because they’re not paying attention to their speed at all, or have no clue what speed they should be holding even if they did.

Then when I look at the memory on their machine after their piece, sure enough they rowed the first 400 meters at a 1:45 split, and by the final 400 meters they were dogging it at a 2:20 split. Again, this is similar to sprinting the first 400 meters of a mile and then walking the final 400 meters.

Here’s a simple way to get to know what a sprint pace feels like, versus a medium effort pace, versus a warm-up speed:

After a good warm-up where you get your heart rate up a couple times, set your machine’s monitor for 500 meters and do an all-out 95 percent effort 500-meter sprint.

At the end, check your memory on your monitor. How consistent was your split? Consistent means each 100 meters of your 500-meter piece was within two to three splits of one another.

For example, if your first 100 meters was a 1:45 average, your second was a 1:46, your third a 1:46, your fourth a 1:47 and your fifth a 1:45, you’re right on point. However, if you started out at a 1:45 split during the first 100 or 200 meters and petered to to a 2:05 and eventually a 2:10, you definitely went out too hard and were not consistent at all.

Work on figuring out what a CONSISTENT sprinting speed for 500 meters feels first and foremost. It might take some trial and error, but it is possible. Seasoned rowers can shut their eyes, or flip their machines up, and row the exact same split for 30 minutes without looking at the machine. Seasoned runners are the same way: They know what various speeds feel like, and they know what speed to hold for various distances.

Once you figure out what a hard AND CONSISTENT 500-meter row feels like, you can use that number to figure out how fast to go during a 1,000-meter row, a 2,000-meter row, or during a multi-modal conditioning workouts, such as “Jackie,” (1,000-meter row, 50 thrusters, 30 pull-ups).

As a general rule, if your max effort 500-meter row is 1:45, you can expect your hard 1,000-meter row to be an average of 4 to six splits higher than that, and your 2,000-meter row to be 8 to 12 splits higher than your 500-meter speed. In this case, this would mean you could expect to hold between 1:49 and 1:52 for a hard 1,000-meter effort and between 1:53 and 1:57 for a hard 2,000-meter effort.

Note that those are speeds for hard, all-out efforts. Many workouts we do, however, are not meant to be all-out efforts, so you can also use this number to figure out how fast to row during an 8-minute or 12-minute workout, for example, in a way that the rowing machine doesn’t gas you out for the rest of the workout.

Let’s say you’re doing “Jackie”. If you’re super fit, Jackie probably falls in the 8 to 10-minute range. In this case, if your 2 km time is 8:00, you can probably expect to row Jackie at about your 2 km speed as Jackie falls in the same time domain as your 2 km row. (The row in Jackie is only 1,000 meters so you won’t come off the machine as tired as you would a 2 km row, but you’ll still have enough energy to begin the thrusters right away). If you know an 8-minute Jackie is unrealistic and you’re going to be working for closer to 15 minutes, then you definitely want to consider going slower than your 2 km pace on Jackie. Maybe 3 to 5 splits slower, so closer to a 2:03 or 2:05 average.

Similarly, let’s say you’re doing a workout of 3 rounds of 400-meter run and 400-meter row. This is probably a 12 minute-ish workout for most people. If your 2 km time is 8 minutes, then consider rowing a bit slower than your 2 km time since this is closer to a 12 minute workout. This will help ensure you can keep the same pace on each round of running and rowing.

Best case scenario, you start to get to know what a hard, medium and easy pace feels like for a 500-meter row, a 1,000-meter row, a 2,000-meter row and a 5,000-meter row.

If you know your paces for each one, you’ll be able to approach any workout that involves rowing in a much more calculate and effective way, which will ultimately only serve to boost your performance, rowing and otherwise, to new heights.

Row your boat, and reach out for more help if need be