Friends of Fitness Foundry

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Friends of Fitness Foundry, a set on Flickr.

Blast from the past spoken through pictures!

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Coming Soon…Essentials of Overcoming Fitness Plateaus eBook.

Coming Soon…

Maximum Boost Workout© Series.
“Essentials of Overcoming Fitness Plateaus.”
by Julio A. Salado., NSCA-CPT, USAW Coach.

 Fitness Foundry’s new ‘Essentials of Overcoming Fitness Plateaus’ part of “Maximum Boost Workout © Series eBook is a stepping stone in developing core stability, human movement and body sculpting. Workouts bridges your program to optimized results.

In this series, you learn how to calculate your resting metabolic rate and total dailiy caloric intake based on your lean muscles, diphragmatic breathing for endurance, dynamic warmups with corrective exercises and foundational movements in all anatomical planes of motion.

As your body adapts to this new challenge and in conjuction with your current program your lean muscle, core stabilty, flexibility, strength and power will improve.

If you want to look like an athlete then you need to learn how to move like an athlete. Without this foundation you will not safely optimize your body’s potential.

Whether your goals are weight loss, lean muscle, agility, power, balance, conditioning, mind body connection or strength; “Essentials of Overcoming Fitness Plateaus” will take your workout to the next level.

  • Advanced Core Stability Training.
  • Anti-rotation exercises for core strength.
  • Workouts bridges your program to optimized results.
  • Lengthen and strengthen muscles.
  • Resting metabolic assessment
  • Improve joint mobility & stability.
  • Corrective Warm Ups.
  • Exercises for neck, low back and knee pain.
  • Develop power and strength.
  • Lose Bodyfat.
  • Posture Alignment.
  • Diphragmatic breathing for endurance.
  • Injury prevention exercises .
  • Dynamic stretches & Foam Rolling.
  • Advanced Medicine Ball, Resistance Band & Stability Ball
  • Mental Factor Chapter
  • Protocols applicable for beginners to athletes.
  • Prevent overtraining syndrome.
Improve your performance
with “Essentials of Overcoming Fitness Plateaus”!

Increase strength and power
with “Essentials of Overcoming Fitness Plateaus”!

Develop lean muscles & core stability
with “Essentials of Overcoming Fitness Plateaus”!

Overcoming Training Plateaus:

The Mental Factor. 

From page 71.

Although our thoughts are processed in the brain, I believe our mind is in our heart.  This is evident when an individual’s determination fuels them enough to push them over the finish line of a marathon.  This phenomenon can be witness when an individual, despite all odds, takes their first step towards living a healthier life.
There is a connection between our heart and ability to achieve our goals. Although fitness requires energy and physical strength nothing else compares to our mental energy.  By looking within for inspiration, we set off a biochemical chain of events. Endorphins are released and you run that extra 5 minutes on the treadmill or lift that extra 5lbs despite fatigue. Maybe, it’s a image of what you are working towards,  a picture of a loved one or raw focus that takes you to the next level.  It all begins with the mind not with sugar loaded beverages.
However when the initial enthusiasm of embarking on a new journey fades the mind rebels with questions.
Here are some symptoms of mental roadblocks that can stump your training program:
  • Usually begins 3-5 weeks into a training program. Cycles about every 3-6 months.
  • Depression, Fatigue
  • Decrease interest in favorite activities
  • Changes in appetite, Irritability, Sleeplessness,
  • You begin to minimize achievements.
  • Drift away from program and resume old habits.
  • Executing poor form in exercises.  May lead to injuries.
Strategies for the Mental Plateau:
Here some favorite quotes. ‘Bring the body to the gym and the mind will follow.’ And ‘Thoughts are like clouds and they will pass.’
When you are in the midst of mental block try to the following:
  • Review your workout program. Are you overtraining?
  • Speak about your mental roadblock.  By sharing you lessen the mental baggage and get feedback.
  • Practice patience, diligence in all activities not just in your workout.
  • Focus on right breathing and awareness of correct exercise form.
  • Participate in a group class.
  • Plan in advance the workout and duration.
  • Remember to eat your pre and post workout meals.
  • Take an extra day off from the gym.  Focus on nutrition.
  • Training is not all physical. It requires preparation and a daily resolve to continue and give 100%.
I personally do the following when I sense the mind weighing me down.
  • Revisit the basic, such as bodyweight exercises:
  • Power naps! Daily 10-30 minutes of recharging.
  • Drink water throughout the day.
  • Ask a friend to join you.
  • Take a group class
  • Be grateful for your current health.

If you see it, you can achieve it!   When your body is physically changing from your hard work in the gym the mind needs to readjust too.  Every workout you do is a stepping stone. Every time you show up for life  it is an achievement. Mental roadblocks are like castles made of sand.  Eventually, they will fall into the sea of your perseverance.  Ask for help and remember you are not alone.

“Essentials of Overcoming Fitness Plateaus” is designed to work with your current program. As your body adapts to this new challenge and in conjuction with your fitness routine there will be an improvement of lean muscle, core stability, flexibility, strength and power. It is the missing link in your program.
If you want to look like an athlete then you need to learn how to move like an athlete. Without this foundation you will not safely optimize your body’s potential.
Whether your goals are weight loss, lean muscle, agility, power, balance, conditioning, mind body connection or strength; “Essentials of Overcoming Fitness Plateaus” will take your workout to the next level.
For a limited time you can register for a FREE copy. Just email me at
Be well and stay ACTIVE!!

Julio A. Salado, NSCA-C.P.T.
TRX & Kettlebell Instructor.
USAW Level 1 Coach
Fitness Foundry, designed for healthy living©.

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C.W.U. for Olympic & Power Lifts. Integrating corrective exercises with dynamic warm ups.

Corrective Warm Up for Olympic & Powerlifts

Disclaimer, it is best to have a thorough evaluation by a medical professional before proceeding with a fitness program.My essay targets the more recreational lifter, particularly those who have an active lifestyle and work 9-5. Generally, this population has a sedentary job and works out for overall health. Unlike professional lifter, who dedicate more hours to training with professional guidance for competition, I am focusing on the needs of the “weekend warrior”.

For the rest of us, who do not have an athletic training coach and work 9-5, I would like to suggest C.W.U. Corrective Warm Ups, multi-joint corrective exercises mixed with dynamic warm ups. Corrective exercises target muscle imbalances while dynamic warm-ups warm up major muscle groups.

Why not just do cardio for 5 minutes? Cardio by itself does not prepare the muscle for the work ahead…it just raises your core temperature. Pre-workout preparation is just as important as the workout itself. In my 15+ years experience in fitness, I have found some common denominators in how people get injured. The first is focusing only on increasing core temperature in their warm up, not specific joint actions (muscle groups) and second, poor exercise technique.

My training experience tells me it would benefit me to learn from their mistakes and include dynamic and corrective exercises in my client’s workouts. This is applicable regardless whether your goal is strength, power, hypertrophy or weight loss. The name of the game is to keep you training for success and not side tracked by an injury. I want to emphasize there is no “silver bullet” in preventing injuries, however by training smarter we can lessen the chances of injuries.

Unlike designated days where you would focus on corrective exercises with more volume (I called them recovery workouts) e.g. rotator cuff, glute activation, thoracic mobility, reactive training, muscle extensibility & flexibility, you can address some of these muscle imbalances or weak links more frequently via a balanced CWU.

There is a well known S.M.A.R.T. principle that is used when creating a program design and I believe it can apply to the warm up. It should be Specific, Measurable, Action, Realistic and Timed.

Main factors in my corrective warm up design:
1. The exercise order is important, it should not be a series of random movements and it is also not designed to exhaust your energy.

2. Since the human body can move in 7 directions. Forward, backwards, left, right, up, down and rotary, so should the warm-up.

3. It should be specific; if your workout has a heavy emphasis on the posterior chain e.g. dead-lift, it would be wise to also “fire up” the antagonist muscles in your warm up e.g. abdominals –Stability ball bicycle crunches. Another example, if your workout has heavy emphasis on cleans and overhead presses then you want to ensure rotator cuff, erector spinae are warmed up e.g. stability ball pikes.

4. Warm up must include unilateral movement. E.g. t-pushups, walking quadriceps stretch with overhead reach.

5. Warm up must be progressive. E.g. walking quad stretch with overhead reach now finishes with a single leg hip hinge.

6. In a nutshell, design the C.W.U to do MORE in less time. It should take no longer than 5 minutes.

Some of my corrective warm up drills might be challenging but not impossible. Individuals with flat feet may find lunge with rotation and single leg balance challenging. Others with upper cross syndrome may find the overhead reach difficult and also find it hard not to shrug while doing the stability ball press ups or t-pushup.

Note: Having unaddressed muscle imbalances due to injuries or from a sedentary job may limit your performance. One of the requisites of having good form is joint mobility. Left untreated, you are also at higher risk for shoulder, low back and knee injury. Solution…customized corrective exercises.

Foam roll: Benefits, myofascia release, muscle extensibility, promotes muscle recovery.

A Few Benefits of C.W.U.:
• Movement in all anatomical planes- functional, movement patterns.

• Increase core temperature- increase blood flow.

• Core stability-increase muscle fiber activation, recruitment of internal oblique, quadrates lumborum, paraspinal muscles, mid/low traps, transverse abdominus , serratus anterior to name a few. E.g. stability ball pikes.

• Scapular retraction, protraction, depression, upward and downward rotation.

• Unilateral movement: knee stability, hip mobility & stability, balance, ankle mobility

• Improve range of motion:

• Wrist mobility: Stability ball press ups.

• Rotator cuff stability/mobility (at GH joint): t-pushups

• Thoracic mobility- Lunge with rotation, spiderman stretch

• Flexibility: lateral walks lengthen adductors.

• Deceleration: reverse lunge with rotation.

• Breathing, Mind Body: Body Awareness, Mental preparation for workout.

• All levels of fitness and age.

• Helps identify over trained areas before loading. (Might need to foam roll again, unload or more rest) use discretion.

Olympic lifts and power lifts are fantastic exercises that are worth learning correctly. Snatches, power clean and press, dead lifts, front squats, back squats require specific joint mobility (and stability), flexibility, timing, core strength & stability, body awareness and proper technique to reap the benefits.

To maximize your potential and prevent injuries I also recommend doing a movement screen by a fitness professional to identify musculoskeletal asymmetry. Past injuries, current lifestyle (sedentary or active) and goals are also very important in developing a progressive, challenging, result driven training program. With this being said, I also suggest getting guidance from an experienced lifter rather than only watching a video. Having someone watch your form and properly correct it is priceless.

C.W.U for barbell clean, front squat and press, back squat, dead lift*:

Equipment- Stability Ball –Choose a medium size ball.

Note, for a dead lift (hip dominant) workout do not perform the stability ball pikes instead do bicycle crunches.

Increase challenge by working in socks, however orthotics users should not take their sneakers off.

2 circuit sets, Repetitions see below, Frequency: 3x/week, 4-6 Weeks

Stability ball pikes: Start with ball in front of you, rollover stability ball until your feet are on the apex of the ball. Hands slightly wider than shoulder width, neutral neck, do not allow hips to fall, shoulder blades in back pocket, core engaged. This is your starting position, legs are fully lengthened and arms have slight elbow bend.

Inhale and pull ball inwards with your abdominals simultaneously driving hips upward. Your head will be between your arms at the peak and chest facing stability ball. Exhale and return to starting position. Reps 8

*Stability ball bicycle crunch (for dead lift workout only): Sit on apex of stability ball with feet shoulder width apart on the floor. Walk your feet out as you roll yourself down until the lower part of your back is on the ball. Now place your right hand on the floor and left hand behind left ear. Right foot remains on the floor with a 90 degree knee bend. Raise left leg off the floor and keep it parallel. Simultaneously, lift your right shoulder/upper back & right elbow and bring your left knee back to make contact with your right elbow above your abdominals. Reps 16 each side

Stability ball press ups: Kneel in front of ball, with hands pointing forward and wider than shoulder width, elbows outwards. Brace your core and step back one leg at a time, feet may be hip to shoulder width apart. Inhale and slowly lower chest, while keeping a straight back. Focus on shoulder blade retraction (pinching mid traps), exhale as you press up. Reps 8

Walking quadriceps stretch and with opposite overhead reach. Right hand grabs right ankle, bring to glutes on to ball of left foot and reach overhead with left arm (arm aligned or behind ear-finger tips reach for ceiling). Release foot and step forward. Repeat on other side. Reps 4x each side.

Reverse knee tucks. Grab left shin with both hands and tuck knee to chest (stretches left low back and hips). Release and step back, repeat knee tuck on other side. Repeat 4x each side.

Lateral squat with 180 degrees rotation: Side step to left, left knee should be stacked/aligned with foot, hip and shoulder. Left knee should track with foot, weight on left heel, drive hips back, straighten right leg and you should feel a stretch in your inner right thigh. Hold for 2 seconds. Pivot on left heel 180 degrees and side step with right leg. Repeat steps above. Reps 4x.

T-pushups: Set up for a normal pushup. Shoulder blades in back pocket, core engaged, feet hip with apart, neutral neck. Focus on pinching shoulder blades (mid traps) as you descend. Return to starting position, turn hips to left side simultaneously allow your feet to fall to the side (do not stack feet). Hips should not drop (similar to a side plank), right arm turns with body and is perpendicular to the floor, fingertips reach for ceiling. Do not allow the arm to fall back, align with body. Return to starting position, pushup and repeat on the other side. Reps 4x

Spiderman stretch: Start with a straight arm plank position. Feet hip width apart, hands slightly wider than shoulders, bring right leg next to right hand, plant right foot. Loop right arm behind right calf/leg and hold for 3 seconds. Unhook right arm from leg and twist torso till chest and head face right wall, right hand reaches for ceiling. Hold for 3 seconds. Bring right hand back to starting position and repeat other side. Reps 4x.

Lunge with rotation, reverse lunge with rotation: Stand with a front squat grip hand position (not clean grip). Fingers on front of shoulders, elbows lined up with shoulders. Shoulders in back pocket. Step forward with right leg into a split squat, land on right heel and keep weight on right heel, both knees at 90 degrees, shoulders above hips. Rotate elbows to right side, your head must stay centered. Rotate back to center, drive thru right heel to move forward. Repeat on left side. Reps 4x

Standing horizontal chops with thumbs externally rotated, diagonal chops: Stand tall, arms extended together in front of you at chest height, palms facing up. Keep arms horizontal as you mimic a standing cable mid trap pull apart, keep palms facing up.

Diagonal chops, same starting position but with palms pressed together. Separate palms diagonally in front of you, right palm faces up and left palm faces down. Diagonally lift right arm till aligned with ear and diagonally bring downward left arm till aligned with hip. Reps 8x, Repeat on other side with reverse palm position.

C.W.U. for Olympic & Power Lifts

After a few weeks, you can introduce new movement pattern e.g. curtsies, spiderwalks. Add instability to a squat progression by performing it on the flat side of a bosu. A new multi-joint corrective exercise e.g. half kneeling 1 arm ball dribble. Mini band hops etc… Again, it’s progressive, time efficient and geared for injury prevention.

Many people can come up with reasons for not warming up before their workout e.g. time restriction. There are also many debates on whether to stretch before or after a workout, efficiency of foam rolling and even question the importance of warming up itself. I personally resigned from the debating society and rather focus on what yields the best results.

Your time is very valuable and learning how to maximize your training session is a great investment. What you do will carry over to your day to day activities and allow you continue train like an athlete.

Be well and stay ACTIVE!!

Julio A. Salado, NSCA C.P.T.
Fitness Foundry designed for healthy living.©
Kettle Bell & TRX Instructor
USAW Level 1 Coach

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Drop the Excuses to Drop the Pounds. Dispelling the “Should’ve,Could’ve,Would’ve”.

Fitness Foundry

Fitness Foundry

My article was written so you won’t be one of the thousands of post New Year Resolutionists who say “I should’ve gone to the gym on my day off “BUT”, I could’ve ordered a medium instead of the SUPER size “BUT”, I would’ve kept my weight loss resolutions “BUT”… If you are still reading this article, then you can identify with this thought process and the snowball effect which leads to another resolution shelved til the next year.

The goal of my essay is to bring awareness to the fact that fulfilling your fitness goals is 110% achievable. Living a healthy lifestyle begins with behavior modifications and with time and discipline you can reap the side benefits e.g. weight loss, increased energy, better self esteem.

It is more common for people to give up on their fitness goals due to mental road blocks than physical limitations.  Here are a few common pitfalls you may encounter and how to navigate through them.

Goal setting: Creating unrealistic goals within a short period of time is a very common set up for failure. If you are looking for long term results then you are better off developing a flexible, practical & realistic fitness plan with weekly and monthly goals
Losing 1-2lbs per week is REALISTIC. You will need a minimum caloric deficit of 3500 per week. This is about 500 calories per day which can be a result from daily exercise plus a caloric deficit e.g. cut out soda intake, take a brisk walk for 30-45minutes.

Wishing to lose 40lbs in 30 days is dangerous, unrealistic and a fantastic catalyst for YO-YO dieting. Save yourself some frustration and invest time in developing a 3 month to 6 month fitness program. For example,  plan for 3-5 days of 30-45 minute workouts/cardio along with a target daily caloric intake/meal plans.

Fear of failure: Past attempts of not achieving fitness goals should be viewed as an experience to learn from and not as an excuse to abandon your goals. If in the past you did lose weight but regained it back then welcome to the club!

You are not alone; many individuals have gone through a similar experience. Somewhere after you achieved your fitness goal you drifted away from the basics or the principles that brought you success
Today is a new day and you have the reference point that it is achievable. It’s now time to step out of the past of “could’ve” and “should’ve” and into the present with renewed spirits.

“Butt” is what you sit on: Here is where most people will say “but I cannot do it again…” Nonsense, let’s take the word “but” out of your vocabulary in context with your fitness goals and you will find a “purpose” rather than an “excuse” for not investing in your health.

Unwilling to change lifestyle because:  Your New Year’s resolution should not be contingent on external circumstances such as a gym membership, new job or ex-boyfriend. Unexpected life circumstances (not to be confused with daily obligations) will affect your focus or approach but they should not be used as an excuse to reverse your decision. At this crossroad of life, you can change your fitness routine to fit into the current situation.

Remember, you can temporarily focus more on nutrition than actual exercises or vice versa. The idea is to continue with your fitness plan on a daily basis because you are in it for the long run.

Reverse peer pressure: Socializing with individuals who undermine your attempts to live a healthier lifestyle makes adhering to your plan more challenging. A perfect example is eating with friends who chastise you for eating more vegetables than fried Buffalo wings. Another example is family members who encourage you to eat more and are surprised and non-supportive about your new eating habits.

Usually, their remarks are not malintentioned; however it does not make it easy to listen to. The mental hangover can lead to binge eating or complete abandonment of your fitness goals. Reaching out to a supportive friend can change your perspective for the better and allow you to move on.

Chances are your new lifestyle change may have a domino effect for your immediate friends and family.

Now, let us move on to the physical aspect of embarking on a fitness goal. Understandably, many are not clear on how to start a fitness program or are aware of the fact that it requires literal exertion or hard work to get results!

This is the population late night infomercial and fast gimmick companies prey on.

On that note, I would like to share with you a common fitness acronym called F.I.T.T.,  I have added one more principle to this acronym that many of us have missed in the past and it’s called “Structure” …

Frequency: How often per week you will exercise e.g. 3-5/week.

Intensity: Level of intensity. Should be moderate but consult with health professional.

Timed: Duration of exercises e.g. 30-55minutes.

Type: Type of exercises e.g. resistance training, kettle bells.

My last personal suggestion is….

Structure: Pre-planning your daily caloric intake and/or workout. Utilizing pen and paper to outline the next day’s expectations.

F.I.T.T.S is a basic checklist for a realistic, customized and results driven fitness program in achieving your goals.

In closing, if you are just starting on a new weight loss program, thinking about abandoning your workouts or returning to last year’s resolution it is worth checking your thought process more than the scale.

You may be surprised to find that your thinking is the biggest obstacle to your program.  Armed with this awareness you can now sail through these temporary mental roadblocks to a leaner, healthier you!

Be well and stay ACTIVE!!!
Julio A. Salado,NSCA-CPT.
USAW Performance Coach
Fitness Foundry, designed for healthy living.

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