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March 18, 2015

Cookbooks You Probably Want to Get

I always say: Collect cookbooks, not diet books.
Here is a list I put together for one of my clients.  Check it out:
My friend Georgie (an RD) has this amazing recipe archive:
She also co-wrote this awesome cookbook: The Racing Weight Cookbook
And I compiled the "ultimate list" from all of my friends (RD's trainers, fat loss coaches).  These are the books that are "go to's"
For cooking protein: The Complete Meat Cookbook
For cooking vegetables: Plenty
General cooking: The Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver
and also: I'm Just Here for the Food by Alton Brown

March 17, 2015

What About Flexibility?

Kit laughlin mastery series

I don't talk a lot about flexibility mostly because I suck at at.

That being said, I've been working on gymnastics style flexibility for about a year, and came upon a resource that is so good, and such a crazy deal, that I had to share it with you guys.

Follow along pancakeKit Laughlin has started releasing series' of videos to master different gymnastic flexibility positions (like pike, pancake, and back bridge), as well as more generally needed flexibility (like hips/squats, and shoulder) and besides being awesome stretching resources, they're only $9.99 each.

It's a silly price, and the material is really good.  And since I'm never going to be teaching any flexibility, it's cool to point you in the direction of awesome people who can.

Also, they just released a follow-along "class" format video for $3.50 for the pancake.  And it looks like they're going to do a similar one for the pike.

Anyway, the price is so ridiculously low, especially compared to all competitors (who usually charge like $90 for similar material), that I just had to tell you guys about it.

Which One Do I Need?

So, for basic kettlebell and bodyweight workouts, most people are going to want to get:

Master the Squat


Master the Shoulder

Or, if someone can't touch their toes, and/or has trouble with the flexibility for deadlifts and swings, they'd definitely want to get:

Master the Pike

The "limbering" exercises are great to warm up with, or do between sets of strength work.  They're the ones marked (L).

The more intense contrast-relax stretching exercises are marked (E) and best done after a workout, or on a separate day.  

How Much, How Often?

It's sort of like, as much as you need.  

If you have the flexibility to do everything you want to do, then you probably don't have to do any at all.

But most of the clients I get have tight shoulders or tight hips.  A little bit of the Master the Squat goes a long way towards making people's squats better.

Some people it will come easy for, some people it won't.  So it depends on how much it matters to you. For people that are naturally tight, a little bit of the limbering movements every day + one time through the whole series (a stretching workout) works really well.

For most people, just picking a couple and doing them after your workouts or between sets will be enough.

Between Sets?

If you're really tight, it can work to do limbering for the movement you're doing:

1.) Pair hip flexor limbering with swings and deadlifts

2.) You can do shoulder flexion stretches and limbering between sets of overhead presses.

Something that always works is just to flip flop:

3.) It can work really well to swap:     

Do upper body flexibility/limbering between sets of lower body strengthening,

and do lower body flexibility/limbering between sets of upper body strengthening.

And that can be a really great use of time.  

Don't Pike or Forward Fold on Deadlift or Swing Day

Just don't EVER forward fold at the low back before, during, or after swings or deadlifts.  It's really pushing hurting your low back, and it isn't worth the risk.

You can hamstring stretch with your back in neutral.

Said another way, don't "pike" or "forward fold" around swings and deadlifts.  Do that some other day.


So that's just a little bit about flexibility, if anyone is interested!  Again, the price on this stuff was just so silly low that I wanted to tell you guys.


March 13, 2015

The 3.5 Ways to Combine Lift Weights Faster with Fat Loss Happens on Monday

Not surprisingly, the number one question I've gotten this week is this — can I combine Lift Weights Faster or Lift Weights Faster 2 workouts with Fat Loss Happens on Monday?

Or, said another way — it could be just as simple as "How Do I Combine my Strength Workouts and Conditioning Workouts?"

I'm so glad you asked.

1.) Three Strength + One Conditioning Jensprintjune2011

So you'd do two strength workouts from Fat Loss Happens on Monday, and 1 metabolic workout from Lift Weights Faster.  

This is actually how I was originally taught — put the strength workouts first, and then if you have a bonus day, add in a metabolic conditioning workout.

Could look like this:

Sunday: Food Planning/Prep/Cooking
Monday: Strength
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Strength
Thursday: Off
Friday: Strength
Saturday: Conditioning

2.) Two Strength + Two Conditioning

This is probably the most popular one, giving you an even mix of the structure and progress from the strength workouts, with the variety of the conditioning workouts.

Sunday: Food Planning/Prep/Cooking
Monday: Strength
Tuesday: Conditioning
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Strength
Friday: Off
Saturday: Conditioning


3.) Two Strength Workouts + One Conditioning

I'm a big fan of "less is more", so this is probably the best option of the three for most people.  Lets take a look at what it could look like:

Sunday: Off
Monday: Food Planning/Prep/Cooking
Tuesday: Strength
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Strength
Friday: Off
Saturday: Conditioning

3.5) Three Strength + Conditioning

This is probably the easiest to implement.  Drop the intervals from Fat Loss Happens on Monday, and switch in a 10 minute (no longer) conditioning workout.

Sunday: Off
Monday: Food Planning/Prep/Cooking
Tuesday: Strength + 10 min Conditioning
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Strength + 1o min Conditioning
Friday: Off
Saturday: Strength + 10 min Conditioning

Which Option is Best?

Now stay with me — here's where it gets crazy: Which ever one you like the best.

Holy effin' what?  You're allowed to "like" one best?!?!?!?


You've got these 3.5 options for combining them, and they'll all work really well.  You've got enough choice here to pick something that will work for you, in your life, and what you like.  But there's enough structure in these choices (they all "work") that you've got something you know is effective.

Lift Weights Faster 2 Last Day of Sale


-by Josh Hillis

P.S. The sale ends today.  And of course, the only reason I endorse Jen's stuff is because it's awesome.  In fact that might have something to do with why we're friends.  

P.P.S. If you like the intervals in Fat Loss Happens on Monday (I do) that's totally fine.  Keep doing those!  LFW2 conditioning workouts are just for people who want some variety.


March 11, 2015

The Mic Drop: A Lift Weights Faster Workout

JenHeadshotLet me bring you in on an inside joke.

Last year, during the lead-up to the launch of the first iteration of Lift Weights Faster, after weeks (months, really!) of filming videos, photographing stills, writing a massive amount of text, and then editing, editing, editing, while sitting, sitting, sitting, I turned to my team and said:

“Can we just call this thing Get Fatter Faster?”

It was a joke, of course, but it came from a place of truth. You could say I wasn’t fully prepared for the volume of work required to get the word out about the high-quality, visually appealing, and immediately actionable program I envisioned putting together. There were a few stressful moments. There were way too many late nights.

 And there were lots and lots of cookies.

Now don’t get me wrong – treats are wonderful and I’ll never (aside from an intolerance or allergy issue) advocate for the complete elimination of any food from your diet. But when life becomes suddenly demanding, balance is often chucked as a stress response to the sudden explosion of high-priority responsibilities.

I interviewed Josh Hillis years ago when I was the fitness editor for Experience Life, and I’ve always admired him for his smart approach to habit change. He gets it: Making small, easy-to-incorporate changes, and being consistent with them, has the biggest impact. Not pinging wildly from full compliance to off the rails.

Trust me, I don’t normally skimp on sleep, sit on my duff so much, and follow the cookie diet, so I was interested in being more consistent when I was getting materials together for the sequel, Lift Weights Faster 2. The small tweaks I made this time around have led to a much smoother build-up to the launch. A higher priority was put on sleep, workouts remained in the rotation even if I only had ten minutes, and no cookies crossed the threshold this time (until Day 1 of the launch, and even then, it was just one). All in all, it’s been a much smoother, more enjoyable process, hardly reminiscent of the “Get Fatter Faster” plan of last year.

All of this is to say that life gets a little crazy sometimes, and it’s important to adapt your fitness when need be. Moving your body, even just for a few minutes, is much better than not moving at all. But don’t just take my word for it: the New York Times’ fitness story of the year in 2014 was about the efficacy of the short workout, with sessions running the gamut from one (yes, one) minute to 30 minutes. Maybe you don’t have 30 minutes today, but do you have 10?

If so, I invite you to enjoy the kettlebell workout — straight from the pages of Lift Weights Faster 2, so consider this a sneak preview! — “The Mic Drop.” You just need one kettlebell and 10 minutes, but I’m confident that’s all you’ll need. The reps are really going to add up, so be smart in your weight selection. Rest as needed to keep your reps neat, tidy, and speedy. 


 Name: The Mic Drop: You’ll know you’ve made an impression.

Suggested Equipment: Just a kettlebell and some music.

Instructions: Complete two to three rounds of this circuit as quickly as possible. Take breaks as needed.

Suggested Time: 10 Minutes


Kettlebell Two-Handed Swing

  • Place a kettlebell on the floor about a foot in front of you with both hands gripping the handle, butt high in the air and knees bent in an athletic stance.
  • Hike the kettlebell back and up between your legs and push your butt back, slightly straightening your legs as you do this. Your forearms should make contact with your upper thighs.
  • When the kettlebell reaches its farthest point back, quickly stand up, using the power of your hips, hamstrings, and glutes to “float” the kettlebell up to about shoulder height. Make sure to keep your shoulders pulled back and down, and don’t let the bell pull your chest forward.
  • Reverse the movement by pulling the kettlebell down through the same arc, staying upright as long as possible before you push your hips backward and swing the kettlebell high between your legs. Keep your chest up the entire time — someone across the room should be able to read the writing on your shirt.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, using a powerful hip extension to generate upward momentum in the bell.
  • When you’re ready to stop, pause at the bottom of the swing portion, gently parking the kettlebell on the floor in front of you.


Kettlebell One-Armed Bent-Over Row

  • Holding a kettlebell at your side, hinge forward from the hips approximately 45 degrees while staying wide across the chest.
  • Row the kettlebell up toward your rib cage, keeping your elbow no more than 30 degrees out from your body.
  • Keep your shoulder down and away from your ear.
  • Return to the start position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions, then switch sides.


Kettlebell Racked Squat

  • With a single kettlebell racked on only one shoulder, push your butt backward and bend your knees. Keep your torso upright and support the weight of the kettlebell with your forearm as you squat down.
  • Keeping your knees in line with your toes, lower yourself as far as you are comfortably able to go.
  • (If it’s not very far, play with foot position, and try turning your toes slightly outward, but don’t force anything.)
  • Again, keeping your knees in line with your feet, return to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, and then switch sides.
  • You should feel a challenge in your core to keep your torso upright with the weight offset on one shoulder.


Kettlebell One-Armed Strict Press

  • Clean a kettlebell to a racked position at shoulder height, thumb pressed against your body and weight resting on the back of your wrist. The opposite arm can act as a counterbalance, or the hand can be placed on your hip.
  • Brace your midsection and press the kettlebell overhead without letting the elbow flair out or the hips drift forward. Take care to keep the forearm directly under your wrist, and do not bend your knees to initiate the movement.
  • Carefully return the weight with control to the rack position, taking care to keep your elbows close to the body. Repeat.


Ready to see results…faster?

If you’re looking to amp up your conditioning in creative and productive ways, I’ve put together a mammoth 181-workout pick-and-choose library called Lift Weights Faster 2. Complete with a full exercise glossary that includes written descriptions and photographic demonstrations of nearly 270 exercises (from classic moves to more unusual ones — the Jefferson deadlift, anyone?), a video library that includes coaching on 30 of the more technical lifts, 10 challenge-workout videos, plus a dynamic warm-up routine, I’ve combined my training and athletic experience with my long background in magazine publishing to create a clear-cut, easy-to-use resource that you’ll want to turn to all the time.  

Every workout is organized by the equipment you have available and how much time you’ve got, with options that last anywhere from five up to 30 minutes.

Lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention I teamed up with my husband, David Dellanave, to create a strength program companion resource called Get Stronger Faster 2 to help you take your strength level to the next level. This completes the total workout package and helps you get results, faster.

For more info, click HERE.  

LWF2 Bundle

Jen Sinkler is a longtime fitness writer for national magazines such as Women’s Health and Men’s Health. A former member of the U.S. national women’s rugby team, she currently trains clients at The Movement Minneapolis. Jen talks fitness, food, happy life and general health topics at her website,

LWF 2 Simple White


March 10, 2015

Kick Your Fat Loss Workouts Up a Notch


Look, you want to lose stubborn fat: You need a great workout program and you need a great nutrition program.

This is the coolest, best, most different workout program I've seen in a while.  And it's rare that I find a program that I totally believe in, that totally agrees with everything that matters to me.  Essentially it's rare to find a program that I know can get you results.

Lift Weights Faster 2 Breakdown:

  • It's worth getting for the exercise glossary alone
  • Workouts organized by level: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced
  • Workouts organized by every kind of equipment you could possibly have or want

Every Exercise BUNDLE_LWF 2 Products Only

So we all share this little world where strength and conditioning collides with fat loss.  And different people have their favorite different tools.  Apparently Jen doesn't!  The glossary has literally every exercise that either I or any of the trainers I know uses today.  Included exercises with:

  • Bodyweight
  • Dumbbells
  • Kettlebells
  • Barbells
  • TRX
  • Valslides
  • Weight Plates
  • Bands

And the thing that's totally amazing and unusual, if you're used to looking at books in Barnes and Noble, is that Jen actually does everything with amazingly awesome form.  Yes, including the kettlebell moves.  Especially the kettlebell moves.  She even includes two variations of the Turkish Get-up, one that I've come to like better this last year.

Conditioning Workouts Forever

Whether you call them conditioning or metabolic or met-con or intervals or strength-cardio, that's the meat and potatoes of Lift Weights Faster 2.  

These kinds of conditioning workouts are where you can have the most variation in your workout programs.  You know I like to have fairly simple, straight ahead strength workouts.  But for conditioning, really do whatever is fun for you.  

And for most people, fun is variety.  This is the coolest, most fun, most awesome variety of conditioning workouts since her last Lift Weights Faster.  These workouts are fun, intense, safe, and smart.  They're everything I'd want in your conditioning program, that almost never shows up anywhere.

Full Disclosure: Jen is a Friend

Jen, like I've said before, has been someone I've known and respected for years.  I didn't meet her because she had a new workout program, I met her because she was the fitness editor for a great magazine.  And we kept up because her stuff is awesome for strength training, conditioning, and most importantly for my readers, great for fat loss workouts.

So, she's a friend, and I love the program. 

And you're going to like it.  You can do bodyweight, barbell, kettlebell, suspension trainer.  You can do a combination of all of those.

If you've seen the last few blogs/emails, then you know that Jen Sinkler uses all of my favorite movements for fat loss, and she combines them in exactly the right way.

If you don't know Jen (I think most of you do), the "Lift Weights Faster" thing is the answer to when people/clients ask her "But what do you do for cardio?"

I'm not really going to "sell" this much more than that.  This is a program that will make a difference for your fat loss results, just because it's a really, really smart program.  It's also fun. 

This is a great, great, great workout program, and you'll be really happy if you get it:

Click here to get it: Lift Weights Faster

LWF 2 Simple White

March 09, 2015

5 Fave Valslide Exercises

More awesomeness this week from Jen Sinkler.  Today she's rocking some Valslide exercises.

For those that don't know, Val Waters wrote the forward to my book, she's a good friend, a genius celebrity trainer, and the creator of the Valslide.

Everyone knows I'ma HUGE fan of Valslide Lunges.  It's one of my favorite exercises ever, right up there with kettlebell swings.

Valslide reverse lunge

A couple new ones in here I love are SHELC's and Body Saws.  I use all of these three exercises with my clients in the gym, all of the time.  

I especially love SHELCs for a hip hinge in conditioning circuits, or when someone's back is tender and they don't want to deadlift or swing that day.

The tucks are awesome also, and the swimmers I've never tried—they're new to me!

Check 'em all out.  The SHELC progression is especially cool:

Jen Sinkler's Fave Valslide Exercises

March 05, 2015

Awesome Ways to Work Up to Your First Pull-up

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 12.43.13 PM

Jen Sinkler shows two really cool ways to work up to your first pull-up, with some really great cues.  

Then she has a give-away and stuff also.

Definitely worth a watch if you're working on your first pull-up, or if you're looking for a way to scale pull-ups to use in conditioning workouts:

Ways to scale pull-ups to get your first one or use in conditioning workouts

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