Latest Blog Posts

HIIT training: Are you doing it wrong?

HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, is a huge buzz –word in the fitness world, but not everyone uses it correctly to reach their goals.  HIIT can help you lose fat, improve conditioning, or even help you get strong on a tight training schedule.  The thing is, you’d use HIIT a little differently to achieve each goal.  That’s especially true for athletes or the experienced trainee.  Just throwing exercises randomly into a training session, without purposefully designing rep schemes and rest periods might work for a novice exerciser, but you’ll soon stop making progress. Let’s take a look at how to effectively design a program for each goal mentioned above.  For our purposes, “Work” will refer to the amount of time (or number of reps) spent performing the exercise of your choice, during each set.  “Rest” will mean the amount of time spent at rest, between bouts of work.

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Archive Update: Bryce Saddoris at World Championships for team USA

Some of you might remember an article that I posted this spring on Bryce Saddoris.  Bryce was a two time All-American wrestler at the US Naval Academy, and won a Division One national championship there.  He currently wrestles for the US Marine Corps and has been bumped up to #1 on the US Olympic ladder.  This week, Saddoris is representing the US in the Greco-Roman World Championships in Uzbekistan.

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Elite Gym Experiences: Beyond Fit with Ia Falo

With JoeToProAthlete.com, I’m on a mission to find the world’s best gyms and strength coaches.  I’ve already trained with some of the best, and visited some amazing facilities.  I’ve trained with international weightlifting coaches, visited with Olympic athletes, and trained in Tim Tebow’s gym.  Today, I want to introduce a newer gym, ready to take its place among the elite.  I guarantee this place will reach the level of the others I mentioned.

Beyond Fit is a small training facility owned by Ia and Nichole Falo; two former collegiate athletes whose success in athletics is translating into big time results in functional fitness.

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Snatch Demo.

The snatch is a great exercise for developing SPEED.  You’ll also be working on power in your legs and core, body control, coordination, and more.

The explanation of the snatch given here is over-simplified.  You’ll need to learn this complex movement from a certified and experienced weightlifting coach before you try it on your own.  It could take weeks, or longer, to go through a progression of simpler exercises building up to executing a real snatch.

USAW Level 2

Continuing education is part of the JTP mission to be the best, and to bring you the best service.  Over the weekend, I was lucky enough to earn a new credential from USA Weightlifting; Joe Pascale, USAW Level 2- Advanced Sports Performance Coach.

Watch for some upcoming weightlifting features.  Clean, jerk, snatch!  I’ve got the bug right now…

Unstoppable: From Underdog to Undefeated by Anthony Robles

Is this a book about strength and conditioning or functional fitness?  No.  Can you learn anything about training from this book?  No.  So what’s it doing on my blog?  After reading this book, you’ll be inspired to accomplish any goal you’ve set.  You’ll understand the human ability to overcome obstacles.  That’s what I want for all of my clients and readers: for you to know that you can do anything, and that nothing can stop you.  Boom.

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World Class Athlete: Bryce Saddoris

Wow.  Today, in North Carolina, I got to talk training with one of the baddest dudes on the planet.  Bryce Saddoris is a First Lieutenant in the USMC.  He’s also #3 on the USA Olympic Ladder for Greco Roman Wrestling.  Bryce was a two time D1 All-American wrestler at the US Naval academy as well, and holds the record for most wins in the history of the program.  Just this year he’s qualified for the CISM World Military Championships by placing 1st in the US Military Freestyle Wrestling Championships.  He has also qualified for the Greco Roman World Trials by placing 3rd in the US Open Greco-Roman National Championships.  Saddoris is a serious contender to make the US Olympic team for 2016.  He is definitely someone worth learning from when it comes to training.

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Best Gyms in the US: D1 Sports Training

While on my mission to find the best gyms, strength coaches, and athletes to feature on JoeToPro, I visited Savannah, Georgia.  There, I got  to spend a couple of weeks training at a facility called D1 (http://www.d1sportstraining.com/).  Sporting several locations in the South East, D1 is a true sports performance gym.   The Savannah location is co-owned by Tim Tebow and Herschel Walker.  They have trained tons of professional athletes in the NFL, NBA, MLB, and pro fight game.  Some of my favorites include Chipper Jones, Peyton Manning, Vernon Davis, and Jermain Taylor.  These guys know how to train.  Seriously.

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Congratulations Gym State: Bodybuilding.com’s Gym of the Month

Congratulations to Nate Tuttle, owner of Gym State Strength and Conditioning, and to his great staff.  They were just names Bodybuilding.com’s “Gym of the Month”.  JoeToProAthlete.com is proud to call Gym State our home gym!  Many of the pictures and videos you see on JoeToPro are filmed right here.

This is a place for athletes.

Check out the feature on Bodybuilding.com here:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/gym-of-the-month-gym-state-strength-and-conditioning.html

Vary Tempo for Better Results

Tempo in strength training is the intended time taken for the eccentric and concentric (up and down… or relaxed and contracted) portion of an exercise.  Here at JoeToPro, we’ve been talking a lot about tempo recently.  Everyone has their favorite method of training, and tends to train mostly with their favorite tempos… but is it better to lift with a fast, moderate, or slow tempo?  What effect does tempo really have on training?

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Nutrition 101: Part 4: Supplementation

Nutrition is the most important part of any fitness or sports performance goal.  Without eating right, you’ll never make optimal progress.  Why waste all those long hours of effort spent in the gym, only to get poor results?  For many people it’s because they don’t understand what to eat, when to eat it, and how food affects their bodies.  I’m going to address all of these basic issues, plus discuss supplementation, in my 4 part series “Nutrition 101”.  Stay tuned, and each week I’ll post a new installment in the series.  To follow the whole series and read older posts, become a member today.

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Resistance band side-steps

I do these as part of my dynamic warm-up.  You’ll strengthen your abductors and train your glutes to fire properly.  That way, when you squat, your knees will turn out from the hip.  You’ll get stronger and avoid injuries.  In sports, you’ll also be able to cut/change directions more quickly.

To learn how Side Steps fit into a complete training program, Become A Member today.  You’ll get access to the internet’s most results driven online personal training.  Receive custom training programs, live 1-on-1 support from your JTP coach, and more.

Lower Body Structural Balance: A Thumbnail Sketch

Poor structural balance in the lower body is the cause of many injuries.  It can also hold you back from training harder/heavier.  You could write a whole book about the subject, but let’s stick with the basics.  As I mentioned in my earlier post, Structural Balance, a balanced body starts with intelligent training.  Develop good posture, a strong core, flexibility in and around your joints, and the strength to support it all.  Then, add in a few accessory exercises to correct any imbalances that might creep in. Pay special attention to…

* Core Strength

* Hamstring flexibility

* Hip mobility

* Proper ratio of hamstring/quadriceps strength

*Proper ratio of adductor/abductor strength

* Ankle mobility (including calf and achilles flexibility)

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Shaky Knees? Reverse Sled Pull for VMO

The Vastus Medialus Oblique is a long muscle that assists with knee stability.  Do you have shaky knees when you squat?  Try this movement!

*VMO development is also an important part of lower body structural balance.  This is one in a long series of “how to” videos to accompany my post on STRUCTURAL BALANCE –  Check it out.

OR

To learn how Reverse Sled Pulls fit into a complete training program, Become A Member today.  You’ll get access to the internet’s most results driven online personal training.  Receive custom training programs, live 1-on-1 support from your JTP coach, and more.

Nutrition 101 Part 3: Macronutrients and Portion Control

Nutrition is the most important part of any fitness or sports performance goal.  Without eating right, you’ll never make optimal progress.  Why waste all those long hours of effort spent in the gym, only to get poor results?  For many people it’s because they don’t understand what to eat, when to eat it, and how food affects their bodies.  I’m going to address all of these basic issues, plus discuss supplementation, in my 5 part series “Nutrition 101”.  Stay tuned, and each week I’ll post a new installment in the series.  To follow the whole series and read older posts, become a member today.

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Warming Up Correctly

The Importance of a Dynamic Warm-up:

Warming up is a part of every training session and every athletic event.  Sometimes, because we do it so much, we forget how important it is.  Warming up properly can help prevent injury, improve balance and posture, and help you train more intensely.

A Good Warm-up can be your security blanket.  Work hard enough to break a sweat and spend this 10-20 minutes forgetting about the stresses of the outside world.  You’re here to train now.  Get in a training “zone” mentally while you warm up.

The best way to prepare for exercise is with a dynamic warm-up, instead of static stretching.  You’ll raise your body’s temperature, and get your muscles ready for the more intense work to come.  These dynamic warm-up movements also give you a great opportunity to work on balance, posture, and even lower body structural balance.

A dynamic warm-up will fire your nervous system up, too.  This gets your brain and muscles working together and firing properly before you start training hard for the day.

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Great Gym Experiences: Performance Inc.

Gym Experience #1- Performance Inc.

I’m searching the world for the best methods of developing strength, speed, and athleticism.  As I follow this path, I’ve been led to travel in search of the smartest and most successful strength coaches and athletes to learn from.  Now, I’m travelling the country, and the world, in search of the best and brightest.

After a few years of working as a personal trainer, I spent my early years as a strength coach at a facility called Performance Inc.  There, I began to learn from PICP Level 3 National Strength and Conditioning Specialist John Carlo.  Coach Carlo began his career as a professional bodybuilder, and soon implemented more functional training into his repertoire.  He studied under world famous strength coach, Charles Poliquin, eventually gaining enough experience to open his own gym.  Since then, he’s coached many athletes in a variety of sports, but has become especially knowledgeable at training for Judo, Hockey, and injury rehab.

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Nutrition 101: Part 2 of 5- When and Why to Eat

Nutrition is the most important part of any fitness or sports performance goal.  Without eating right, you’ll never make optimal progress.  Why waste all those long hours of effort spent in the gym, only to get poor results?  For many people it’s because they don’t understand what to eat, when to eat it, and how food affects their bodies.  I’m going to address all of these basic issues, plus discuss supplementation, in my 5 part series “Nutrition 101”.  Stay tuned, and each week I’ll post a new installment in the series.  To follow the whole series and read older posts, become a member today.

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Olympic Weightlifting for Speed and Power

Olympic lifts are complex movements that include the snatch, clean, jerk, and all the variations thereof.  These lifts have been included in the world Olympic Games for decades, and there are widely available opportunities to compete in weightlifting as a competitive sport at any age, weight, or experience level.  Today, we’ll cover the benefits of adding these lifts to your own training programs for the purpose of gaining speed and power.  You’ll also develop greater body control and awareness, better coordination, and improved timing.

Slower lifts like squats and dead-lifts are great for developing muscular strength, and have their place in your programs, but don’t match Olympic lifts for development of explosive power.  The force production (most force in the shortest time) created in the clean and snatch have each been measured to be far greater than that of any traditional strength training exercise.  In short, Olympic lifting WILL make you faster and more powerful.

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Nutrition 101: Part 1of 5

Nutrition 101

Nutrition is the most important part of any fitness or sports performance goal.  Without eating right, you’ll never make optimal progress.  Why waste all those long hours of effort spent in the gym, only to get poor results?  For many people it’s because they don’t understand what to eat, when to eat it, and how food affects their bodies.  I’m going to address all of these basic issues, plus discuss supplementation, in my 5 part series “Nutrition 101”.  Stay tuned, and each week I’ll post a new installment in the series.  To follow the whole series and read older posts, become a member today.

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Plyometric Training for More Power

The old gym legends say plyometric exercises were originally designed by the Soviets to develop “power,” and speed in their track athletes.  Here’s what we know for sure:  Power is defined as the rate at which work is performed, or Power = Force x Velocity.  Today, plyometrics are used and sometimes misused for many other purposes, but are still best applied correctly to build power in athletic performance.   Pogo jumps, depth jumps, and plyo-push-ups are just a few examples of plyometric movements.  Check out some dos and don’ts of plyometric training:

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Book Review: German Body Comp Program

Charles Poliquin is a world famous strength coach whose résumé includes many Olympic athletes from around the world.  He has also published several books on strength training.  In his book “German Body Comp Program”, Poliquin outlines his methods for using strength training for fat loss.  This book is not really a book about sports performance.  It’s great, however, as a versatile and effective program for weight loss.

Now, let’s talk some more about the book.  Then, we’ll dig a little deeper into the program itself.

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Structural Balance

Structural balance in the human body, if perfectly developed, would allow all of your muscles to be proportionately developed.  You’d have the perfect amount of flexibility.  Your joints would move smoothly through a full range of motion.

Too bad we don’t live in a perfect world.  The truth is that the stresses of daily life, our jobs, and sports cause imbalances in almost everyone.  You’re a little tight here or a little weak there.  You slouch in your chair at work or in the car.  Maybe your hands hurt from typing all day, or maybe it’s your shoulder from doing bench press.

The good news is that you can train to fix those problems.

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Book Review- “Athletic Development”

Vern Gambetta is a world renowned strength and conditioning coach with over 40 years of experience.  He has worked with athletes in many sports including experience in high school, the NCAA, NBA, and extensive work with Major League Baseball teams.  He’s certainly someone worth listening to if you’re serious about sports performance training.  In his book, Athletic Development, Gambetta summarizes all his years of research and experience.  He covers all aspects of a fully integrated plan for sports performance training.

In the beginning of the book, Gambetta takes the time to point out that coaching is a unique blend of science and art.  He notes that every athlete, coach, and circumstance is different.  It’s worth considering each of these variables when designing training programs.  While science is hugely important, there’s always that “human” factor, right?

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Fat Bar Training

Old time strongmen would train with homemade equipment.  This stuff was made from whatever they could get their hands on, and came in varying grip diameters and shapes.  Thick bar, or fat bar training was born.  The world’s elite strength coaches have caught on, and professional athletes, bodybuilders, and strongmen have known about fat bar training for years.  You will develop not only greater grip strength, but improve your overall strength as well.  You’ll also increase stability and improve structural balance in your upper extremities, possibly reducing pain from tendinitis or other repetitive use/imbalance injuries.

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Unrolling Fly

This Fly variation will open and build your chest while having the added benefit of increasing shoulder flexibility and overall functioning.

With Online Personal Training from JoeToProAthlete.com you’ll learn how to fit this move into a complete training program.  You’ll also get live 1-on-1 support from your coach, and everything you need to train like a pro!