Wednesday, April 30, 2008

West-to-East





I am very excited and looking forward to teaching one of my favorite subjects: How to work with the greatest, most ingenious machine ever created...the human body. This body weight conditioning and joint mobility seminar will take those who attend to the next level. After this weekend the participants will never be gym or equipment dependent again. I'll show techniques and variations that can't be found on DVDs and you'll get the opportunity to try them first hand...with the ol' Coach closely supervising. Remember: YOU are the machine. It really peeves me when I hear people complain about missing workouts or being "unable" to work out because there wasn't a gym at the hotel, or the gym where they're staying totally sucks. Absolutely no excuse! Exercise takes no vacation...nor prisoners. Take this seminar and EVERY room becomes a gym--even your jail cell!
  • I'll reveal my special push-up secrets so that you'll be able to perform push-ups evermore with pain-free shoulders and elbows
  • I'll teach you how to pull your own weight--even if you have a fat ass--in a way that you'll never miss those free weights--or kettlebells--at all
  • Learn how to do the Maxercise Leg Matrix, to fill out those quads, calves and hammies, so your upper body won't have to sue your lower body for support!
  • Learn the newly revised Four-Corner Balance Drill--for foot, ankle, calf, knee and hip strength and stability
  • I'll teach you one-arm push-up and pistol progressions
  • The Maxwell Daily Dozen--for youthful vigor, vitality and all-around anti-aging
  • I'll share with you The Maxercist--in its many guises--which may be the ULTIMATE in full-body conditioning and cardio
  • Learn how to use The Maxwell Push-Up Complex to strengthen and condition every muscle in the body from the toes to the nose.
  • This exercise sequence will make you like a coiled spring and always ready! My girlfriend has banned me from using it within 100 yards...unless she's well-rested.
  • I'll also be revealing some of my special abdominal routines that have turned the Coach's six-pack into an eight-pack--that's a 33% value increase!
I love this stuff; I love teaching this stuff and I truly hope you'll sign up and join me at Mark Philippi's gym in Las Vegas on Saturday 10 May from noon until 6 PM

Click here for more info

A special note to those of you who've already signed up: We're going to have a blast. See you there!

In Strength and Health,

Coach Steve

P.S. I hope to unveil my new fitness product if it's released in time.

****************************************

For those of you who can't make the Las Vegas trip, I'm doing a special appearance at Joe Egan's Karate Academy in New Hampshire 31 May-1 June.

For the next five sign-ups I'm offering complimentary copies of the Spartan 300 Workout.
Hey, come on man, baby needs a new pair of shoes!

At Joe's I'll be presenting the Maxercise Kettlebell Strength and Mobility Series, for superior performance in martial arts. Even if you're not a martial artist, you'll get great health and fitness benefits from following this specially-sequenced exercise chain...even as few times as twice a week.

Eastern healing systems were grounded in knowledge of the martial arts. Many of the techniques are considered, as the Russians put it, "poisonous exercise" where you build resiliency in areas that are vulnerable to damage. It's a form of injury-proofing the joints.

The second day at Joe's I'll show some awesome grappling techniques that are sure to put all that conditioning to good use--no gi required.

So if I don't see you in Vegas, get thee to New England and we'll pass the clam chowder around! click here for more info

Friday, April 25, 2008

On the Maxercise Teacher Training Certification








This past weekend, Maxercise hosted its first Kettlebell Teacher Certification. The event was a resounding success. The participants were introduced to the Maxercise kettlebell teaching system. This system was developed by myself and my former student, John DiSimone. John was my first kettlebell student and is the current owner of Maxercise, located at 707 Chestnut St. in Philadelphia.

The Maxercise Kettlebell System is an exercise system promoting complete fitness and well-being. Emphasis is placed on mobility, range-of-motion and flexible strength. This may be the ultimate anti-aging system. All the benefits of yoga asana, weight training, and cardio can be had with the Maxercise System. The workout progressions were developed over eight years. Rarely is flexibility, mobility, coordination and balance contained within a strength training system.

Just as important as any system itself, is the teaching of that system. Maxercise was the first modern day kettlebell gym in the U.S. and I was the first instructor. After years of experimenting with almost every conceivable combination, we have come up with the ultimate structure and design for teaching successful kettlebell classes. At the certification, participants were given step-by-step direction on constructing and implementing the perfect kettlebell class. Everything from client information forms, goal setting, workout construction, client assessments and record keeping was covered.

Anyone interested in the amazing success of the Maxercise kettlebell program can take advantage and sign up for the next teacher training certification.


***********************************************
Ask Coach!
***********************************************

Q: ...
I have been doing your 300 bodyweight exercises off of your 300 DVD. I really want to take the reps to the next level and saw there is a 500 bodyweight exercise program that looks good, can you recommend this and if so how often shall I do it? I also hear that you can do a 1000 bodyweight challenge!? What are the pros and cons to these programs?

A: Know that once you get to a certain number with BW exercises, you get diminishing returns. It becomes a feat of endurance, not one of strength.

My advice is to invest in a weighted vest, and start out using about 10#.

If you are really interested in the endurance aspect, continue using my routine, but instead of doing 30 reps, for example, do 40 reps.
Or, simply go through the program faster--without breaking down in form, don't get sloppy.


Q: I have all your videos, and I was wondering what would be the best exercise to help strengthen a week clavicle, or collar bone, area. I hurt it doing BJJ years ago, and it just doesn't seem to have the strength like my other side. Any help would be great.

A:
This is a really bad injury and it's a difficult fix.

Do the KB Halo exercise (you can also use a barbell plate), using as little as a 25# BB plate if necessary. You're trying to build connective tissue and specifically, tendon strength.

Move slowly and smoothly, trying to increase the ROM behind the head as much as possible.

What else?

Invest in some club bells and start doing shield casts.

Look at the Youtube page wherein I demo the exercise. It's an ancient Iranian move.

If you can't afford clubbells, go to a Walmart or Kmart toy section and buy two of those big, orange, whiffle-ball bats.

Open them up and fill with sand, then super-glue and duct tape it back together. That makes a very serviceable clubbell. I had a pair in Philly for years that I kept in the backyard.

Thanks for writing. Thank you for your support.


Yours in Strength & Health!
Steve

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Aerobics Reflux


I came under fire recently from a couple of scientists who seemed very much invested in the aerobics philosophy. They were angry about my anti-aerobics views and wished to discredit me for my beliefs. I am not a scientist, nor do I claim to be one. I am a well-educated and well-read layman. More importantly, I've done my own experiments over the years, first upon myself, then with hundreds of clients in my personal training business and I concluded long ago that many things the exercise police and scientists tell us simply don't work. Over and over again, things change and theories once taken as gospel are later overturned. You can't trust solely in the scientists, you need to be your own researcher and discover for yourself what it is that works best for you.

With that knowledge, unfortunately, comes the possibility of getting stuck in a rut and refusing to try new things! There is a saying, that you can be "ruined by your success". Sometimes a trainer will have good results with one exercise system, then stubbornly adhere to that system forever! Thus there are good results...and there are optimal results. Honestly, some people are successful in spite of their workout systems. Training is still more art than science.

My experience with aerobics began as a freshman in college. I'd used running as a conditioning tool for wrestling and football throughout high school and never questioned it. Then Cooper came out with the aerobics points system and declared you couldn't do enough aerobic exercise. He downplayed the value of strength training which, at the time, I found very disappointing. After the running boom of the 70's and 80's, people began to notice the aerobic excesses were producing a number of problems. Well-known runners dropped dead mid-training though they were allegedly immune from heart problems. Musculo-skeletal injuries became the norm and you'd see a lot of twisted, tight, pain-ridden bodies out there. I, personally, was one of the lucky ones with a hearty constitution and I enjoyed my running and never suffered significant orthopedic issues. Of course, I was avidly strength-training and doing mobility and flexibility work! Cooper later recanted and his new stance was that anything (aerobics training-wise) over 20 minutes, three times per week, was not for optimal health. He then embraced the importance of strength training. Once I became immersed in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, I realized that steady-state running (that is, training in "the zone") was utterly worthless as a conditioning tool for my new sport.

Once I stopped running, I was amazed at how much better I felt. I became leaner, more muscular, and more flexible. My strength peaked at a much higher level. I began to do more anaerobic work in the form of short, intense, interval training with the kettlebell, jump rope and Schwinn Airdyne. I also employed interval calisthenic-type movements like bear crawls, squat-thrusts, and sprinter lunges. I encouraged my students and clients to get off the aerobics treadmill wagon and every single one of them obtained better results. I may not be able to argue science-speak but I offer you this, my own experience. Steve Maxwell

Monday, April 7, 2008

My Take on Diet


One of the questions I'm most frequently asked is, "What do you eat?" People wonder how I manage to keep my body fat at about 6% year round. Further, I've remained youthful in appearance (and behavior) which I attribute to my daily regimen.

There are dozens of theories about the best way to eat. One thing that everyone agrees upon is we all need a certain amount of calories, water, protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Then the lines rapidly delineate when it comes to proportions of macro-nutrients and meal frequency. Food quality is a whole other issue... Let me preface the following by saying that this is only an accounting of what I do--and I'm not saying what I do is for everyone! The topic of food consumption and nutrition is a very emotional subject for some people. Some of the most vicious arguments I've ever witnessed were nutrition-based. Much like politics or religion, it's a loaded, fully-charged gun waiting to go off. You must be careful with these things, treading between people's confusion and emotions. Once someone "settles" in with a dietary program, they want to believe in it. They begin to self-identify with it. If another diet is touted as good/better/best, their belief system is challenged. Either they are wrong or the other guy must be wrong. Most people won't allow themselves to be wrong and this is the basis of the nutrition wars.

My own diet has evolved over decades. I'm an experimenter, willing to use my body as a laboratory to test any intriguing theories I might encounter. I was raised on a mixed, American diet, typical of the 1950's and 60's. I went lacto-ovo vegetarian; vegan; raw-food vegan and macrobiotic. I followed Arnold Erhet's Mucusless Diet System; Herbert Sheldon's Food Combining system; the Hunza diet; Paavo Airola's diet system; The Gracie family diet; Ori Hoffmeklar's Warrior Diet; the Atkins diet and Dr. Ellis' Diet Solution. I've run the gamut of high-carb/low-fat to high-protein/high-fat; I suspect I've tried about every combination. I've read a lot on the subject and further had the opportunity to observe my clients' responses as they've followed me on my diet journeys. I've been on the same diet now (and still evolving) for 15 years. I finally settled on a low-carb diet, with about 20% of calories coming from carbohydrate. When I need to lean out (from over-indulgence) I go ketogenic (very few carbs) for a few days to a week. I feel my very best on this diet, compared to all of the other diet strategies I've tried. Once I went low-carb, I stopped searching elsewhere because I began feeling and performing better than ever. With lower carb and higher fat, my satiety level went up, inflammation went down, mood improved and I became noticeably leaner and more muscular. I eat the following foods in various proportions throughout the week: jerky from grass-finished beef; pemmican (beef jerky and rendered tallow 1:4); cheese (raw milk Swiss); chicken; hard-boiled eggs; cottage cheese; 25 Greek yogurt; whey concentrate powder; rice bran; unpasteurized pickled vegetables and a variety of cooked green vegetables, like spinach, broccoli, kale and collards. I eat when I'm hungry, drink when I'm thirsty and eat little, unless my appetite is especially voracious. I play a game with myself to see how little I can eat and still perform at a high level in my chosen activities. I space meals out over the day with at least three--usually four--hours between feedings. I prefer to fast during the morning hours, though lately I've begun taking a spoonful BCAAs when I wake up. Here's a typical menu:

05:30 -- supplements: aminos; BCAAs; glutamine; tyrosine and creatine

09:30 -- pemmican bar (USWellnessmeats.com)

10:00 -- coffee with cream or half & half

14:00 -- yogurt/whey shake (double serving Fage yogurt with 2 T. whey concentrate, sweetener and mineral water 1:1)

17:00 -- 8 oz. package of beef jerky (USWellnessMeats.com); 1/4 lb. cheese; 2 hard-boiled eggs

21:00 -- supplements: nighttime sleep stack


If I'm still hungry, I'll have a light snack in the evening. I like low-fat cottage cheese right now with a teaspoon of some super food fruity/greens powder. Sometimes a bag of pork rinds is a nice treat and for franken-food, I like Metabolic Drive chocolate chunk bars as a light meal replacement. Occasionally I eat movie popcorn with butter and here in San Francisco they provide nutritional yeast flakes to sprinkle on top. That's pretty much it. When I eat out, I like soups. i enjoy fried calamari as a special treat from time-to-time. It pretty much comes down to that. I eat to live, not live to eat. I enjoy my food, but it's no big thing. I feel good, appear young and stay lean and muscular. I'm never sick, have no health problems and am happy 90% of the time. This works for me.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Maxercist--Is This the Ultimate Fitness Move?

The Maxercist is a kinetic chain of body weight movements linked together in a continuous flow. Much like the yogic conditioning systems, the moves are linked via the breath. All the elements of physical conditioning are developed by the Maxercist: strength, endurance, cardio, mobility, co-ordination, balance, flexibility and grace. All five pillars of human movement are represented: two level changes--one thigh-dominant and one hamstring-dominant--a push; a pull; rotation and locomotion. This chain stresses systemic fatigue as opposed to muscular fatigue. In this regard, it would be classified as inefficient. The idea is to "smoke" the system, not the muscle. In this way, the activity can be prolonged in order to increase cardio endurance and work capacity. Unless there is a significant, pre-existing imbalance in the trainee, the work and fatigue are evenly distributed throughout the body. For most, the weak link lies in the pulling muscles. What are the advantages of such an exercise? Why not just separate each movement and work more efficiently? There are several advantages. One is the pronounced cardio effect while simultaneously working the lower and upper body musculature through a full range of movement all while enhancing mobility and flexibility. How many cardio exercises can make that claim? Motor skills, balance, agility, flow and grace are also refined. I personally find the usual modes of cardio conditioning, such as the step mill, elliptical or treadmill utterly mind-numbing, but you all knew that. The Maxercist allows you to develop other athletic attributes while still reaping all the benefits of so-called cardio exercise. I originally came upon the Maxercist concept while attempting to figure out exercise combinations to simulate the stresses of a prolonged grappling or MMA fight. I have many variations of the Maxercist. It's decidedly more sophisticated than the traditional burpee, yes, even more than a burpee with an added pull-up. Each component blends into the next. The form is very important, as is full-range motor control. The temptation is to reduce range of motion in order to buy more speed--this is a mistake. Much of the benefit comes from the fullfull flexion of each component. The speed can increase, but don't cut any corners. Study the photos carefully and start out slowly. When you can do 100 reps, non-stop, you'll have acquired the stamina, strength, flexibility, agility and endurance to handle almost anything! Steve Maxwell extension and video